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Perkasie police chief sworn in at private ceremony


Amid social distancing and efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, Perkasie Borough had a swearing-in ceremony earlier this month for its new chief of police.

Robert A. Schurr was sworn in during a private ceremony and began his duties as Perkasie Police Department’s top official on March 16.

Schurr said he has been immediately impressed with the smooth operation of the department. “The officers do a great job and are very professional,” Schurr said.

Perkasie Borough Manager Andrea Coaxum said since Schurr began his post the borough has been operating with a “no face-to-face policy,” in place.

“He stepped in and made some critical decisions right away,” Coaxum said.

Council voted 9-0 at a regular business meeting Jan. 20 to hire Schurr, 51, of Pottstown to replace longtime Chief Steven Hillias, 49, who died unexpectedly last June.

Schurr has worked in law enforcement for North Coventry Township in Chester County since 1990, and he has been its chief for 17 years.

Coaxum noted Schurr “leads by example” and has done an excellent job in his short time at the helm of keeping the police department up to date on process and policy developments regarding public safety.

“He is dealing with policing during this uncharted time,” Coaxum said.

With many residents and business owners heeding stay-at-home mandates the number of people on the streets has been reduced, as has the number of traffic accidents and petty crimes.

She commended Schurr’s handling of important changes and adapting to a “new normal” at least during the crisis. “That has to be the focus, of balancing everyday life along with being cautious,” Coaxum said.

A Sellersville native and Pennridge High School graduate, Schurr said coming back to Perkasie feels more like a homecoming. “I feel welcomed. I’m happy to be here and I feel at home,” he said.

And while he has not been able to have much face-to-face time with residents or business owners because of Covid-19 social distancing mandates Schurr said he looks forward to getting to know the community in person when those restrictions lift.

“Due to positive cases of Covid-19 we’ve been asking for a lot of precautions. It’s a reminder of how close to home this has hit and we all have to remain vigilant,” Schurr said.

Perkasie Councilman Matt Aigeldinger said having a new police chief begin official duties during a global pandemic, and without having a public introduction and celebration event, was unprecedented.

“It’s difficult because I think the community would like to celebrate having a new chief, and he’s interested in getting out and getting to know his new community. And the pandemic really has thrown him a curve ball,” Aigeldinger said.

“When a ceremony is scheduled, we’ll have a lot to celebrate and rebuild our communities. This will be something to look forward to,” Aigeldinger said.

Schurr said while many downtown improvements, new businesses and bridge repair and replacement projects have been key to Perkasie’s economic revitalization and those have shaped the landscape since he lived here, not much has really changed.

“This is going to pass. We all do our part, we’ll all be safe,” Schurr said.

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