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Tinicum chief’s resignation left some officials “heartsick”


Announcing his departure to serve neighboring Bedminster Township in a similar capacity, outgoing Tinicum Township Police Chief Matthew Phelan noted that Tinicum still had Officers Nicole Madden, Mark Compas and Justin Gerding “to continue what we started.” Phelan’s two-year term as chief culminated 20 years of service on the force.

A representative of the Tinicum Township Police Foundation said the announcement left them “heartsick.”

During his monthly reports at board of supervisor meetings, Phelan often praised his officers’ exemplary efforts in tasks ranging from delivering babies to intercepting hit-and-run drivers. In his final report at the June 16 meeting, he noted that Officer Madden had received “accolades from the county district attorney’s office, following a two-year investigation into a combination home improvement and investment fraud that resulted in a guilty plea.” The result was the individual being sentenced to up to 48 months in prison and being ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.

Reached for elaboration, Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber said that Madden “did a phenomenal job digging into a very complex case, including intensive documentation from different agencies, and then a lot of work to put it together in a format capable of being presented in court. As a result, the case was so compelling, there was no way to defend it.”

During his monthly reports, Phelan would refer to apprehensions that resulted in incarceration as “removing the individual from the community.”

At the June 16 meeting, officials were unanimous in praising Phelan and wishing him well, including respecting his decision to move on, which he said began when “Bedminster reached out” to him as a replacement for their retiring Police Chief Mark Ofner. As of the day of the meeting, Tinicum had not announced any plans for replacing Phelan, whose term officially ends on July 10.

Also during his final monthly report, Phelan noted that speed display boards had been purchased for mounting on River Road utility poles in the vicinity of the Bridge Lanes, where residents have long complained of hazardous speeding by motorists. The township had already been working with PennDOT on a speed limit reduction and improved signage. The purchase was funded by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.