Hellam Township names new police chief
After one week on the job, Hellam Township's new Police Chief Doug Pollock has his hands full.
With only six of the usual eight officers on staff, Pollock said the department has a lot to get through, but he's confident that with his staff, they will get everything smoothed out.
"I imagine things will calm down," he said.
He said his phone has been blowing up with calls from other police chiefs and officials in the county, congratulating him on his new position.
The 47-year-old Hellam Township Police officer was appointed chief April 21 during the Hellam Township Board of Supervisors meeting after former chief Mark Sowers left the department earlier this year.
Ambitions: "The only two things I was ever interested in was being a pilot or being a cop," Pollock said.
Pollock has been able to fulfill both of those goals in his life. He said that after six year in the Pennsylvania National Guard, he went to the police academy and worked as an officer part time, and then he got his pilot's license and became a crop duster, dusting cranberries.
"I thought it was my dream job," he said.
But two years later, the cranberry industry took a hit.
"I just said, I need to go back to being a cop," he said.
He joined the Hellam Township Police Department in 2002 and has lived in the township ever since. Pollock is known in the community and has two sons, a second-grader and a 12th-grader.
Appointment: Pollock said he was he wasn't expecting to be appointed as chief.
"When the offer was made, I figured I'd better take it," he said.
Pollock said he wasn't sure if he always aspired to be chief, but he thought his time in the military gave him the skills to take the position.
Board of Supervisors vice chairman Phil Smith agreed with Pollock.
“He has the ability to be stern but also compassionate," he said. "Which I think is a good chief.”
Pollock said in his many years with the department, he has gotten to know many of his fellow officers, which will also help him do his job.
"I know what makes them tick, they know what makes me tick," he said.
Plans: Pollock said as chief, he would like to continue the community outreach the department has been doing for a while.
"I think we've got a pretty good connection with the community," he said.
In addition to community outreach, he said he has plans to restructure the department and to hire more staff.
"We're going to move a couple guys around," he said.
He said the board has been restructured as well, and now Smith will be his direct liaison to the board.
“I think he has some good ideas for boosting the morale with the department," Smith said, adding that he and Pollock have more ideas for the department but haven't yet shown them to the board.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com.