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Police Chief to Leave Malvern PD

Chief Mark Ercole will leave the Malvern Police Department in June, and it's not clear who will take his place.

Malvern Police Chief Mark Ercole will return to the East Whiteland Police Department when the contract that brought him to the borough expires in June.

At a Borough Council meeting Tuesday night, Malvern Mayor Jerry McGlone said that Ercole had "respectfully requested that the borough not re-up the contract." Ercole was an EWPD lieutenant when the borough and East Whiteland Township struck a one-year contract in 2012 for his services as police chief. 

The borough is pursuing a similar contract with East Whiteland Township to bring another EWPD officer on as chief, but no plans have been finalized. 

"I think [Malvern Police Department] is running well now under Mark, and I'd like to see that continue," McGlone said.

Malvern Police Officer John McNamee, who spoke from the audience, agreed with that assessment, but suggested the borough should not limit its search for a new police chief to East Whiteland officers.

Rumors of a referendum

The topic of the police chief was not on the meeting agenda Tuesday. Resident Patti Rossiter raised the issue when she asked if there was any truth to the rumor that voters would be asked via a referendum on the May 21 ballot whether they are in favor of disbanding the borough police department.

Borough Council President Woody Van Sciver said that a ballot question had been discussed, but there are no plans to implement it.

He later added that, if a decision like disbanding the police department was being seriously considered, he would be a strong proponent of using a referendum.

"That way, the people can speak," he said.

A familiar topic in the borough

The fate of the Malvern Police Department has arisen as a contentious issue multiple times in recent years. In 2012, a public meeting to discuss the matter had to be moved to a nearby church to make room for all the attendees.

That meeting led to the termination of Police Chief Michael McMahon and the contract with East Whiteland to bring Ercole in as acting chief. The contract, totaling roughly $150,000 per year paid to the township for salary and benefits, took effect June 6, 2012, and terminates June 30, 2013.

East Whiteland Township Manager Terry Woodman confirmed that she has been in discussions with Van Sciver regarding a new contract with a different officer.

"From my perspective, that's the right solution," McGlone said Tuesday night. "I think Mark has done a wonderful job with the police department. We're working much better with our neighboring municipalities, which is very important to me. ... It's a department that has embraced Mark and his leadership and we would expect the same out of whoever is going to [replace him as chief]."

See also:

Police Bike Program Revived in Malvern

East Whiteland Lieutenant to Replace Malvern Police Chief

Malvern Police Supporters Turn Out for Borough Meeting

Jared February 06, 2013 at 01:36 PM
We need the Malvern police to start enforcing the stop signs in the borough again. We have too many ignorant people rolling straight through them. Eventually a pedestrian is going to be hit. It will be even more important as we become more of a "walkable" town with the addition of the new Eastside plaza!
Butch Beals February 07, 2013 at 03:25 PM
You don't need a borough police department and a Willistown Police Department. Expand the Willistown Police Department to include the borough. There's too much duplication of service in this region.
Jim McVeigh February 07, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Isn't there a qualified Malvern Police Officer able to serve as Cheif? Malvern Police Officer John McNamee appears to be a solid candidate, military background (U,S.M.C.) and experience culminated as a Malvern P.O. Disbandng the Malvern Police Force is a very poor choice. With the expected expansion of the population and new business's, residents deserve to be protected.
Interested Observer February 11, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Yea, that's a great idea. Let one of the inmates who helped cause the need for a new chief, more discipline, etc. run the asylum. Remember, this was a few supposed adults who couldn't come to an agreeable answer to a fight over $200 and had to sue. Chief Ercole seems to have reined that mess in, but left to their own devices (and now in charge) I can't imagine those old factions/frictions won't re-approve. Now - to make it clear - I think McNamee is good (and wouldn't be a bad choice.) It's just that the past dynamics here give me pause as to putting one of the existing POs in charge.
David Sloan February 12, 2013 at 09:20 AM
We should always keep our police department close to our home . . . for our own protection . . . farming it out to the lowest bidder is dumb, dumb, dumb. I don't understand why it is so hard to select an appropriate candidate . . . I would really like to hear some feed back from the borough manager and borough council before chief Ercole leaves. HOW ABOUT IT ????????
Interested Observer February 12, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I give the Council credit on choosing Chief Ercole. He seems to have done a great job and has received nearly universal praise since coming here. The Council seems to have chosen well, it just seems Ercole's heart remains in the Township he spent 20+ years professionally. It gives me confidence the Council knows what they need and are looking for, and can make a smart decision again.
RHoney March 06, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Any word at last nights council meeting about who may replace Chief Ercole?? I was at the February council meeting when Jon Mcnamee spoke. I think it took a lot of courage for him to speak up. To Interested Observer: Mcnamee is young and would make a good sergeant to help prepare him to be chief someday. I'm sure council will make a thoughtful choice for the next chief.

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