Newtown Township Board of Supervisors hire Philadelphia captain as its next chief of police
NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> The township will soon have a new police chief.
At the Jan. 9 meeting, the board of supervisors hired Philadelphia police captain John Hearn to head the township's 31-officer police department.
In a quick vote without discussion or debate, the board unanimously approved an employment agreement with Hearn.
Voting for the police chief’s contract were: Chairman Phil Calabro, Vice Chairman Linda Bobrin, along with Supervisors John Mack, Kyle Davis and Dennis Fisher.
Although Hearn’s name was not publicly disclosed at the supervisor’s meeting, Bucks Local News has confirmed that he will take over the position sometime this spring after he wraps up his job with the Philadelphia Police Department, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.
Once on board in Newtown, the 52-year-old Hearn, who lives in Northampton Township, will oversee 31 officers, commanders and civilian staff members along with a $5.27-million budget this year.
He’ll replace former Chief Rick Pasqualini, who retired in July. In the interim, Lt. Jason Harris has been serving as acting police chief.
Capt. Hearn’s resume is both extensive and impressive.
Since 2017, he has been the commanding officer of the 14th District in Northwest Philadelphia, which covers the Chestnut Hill and Germantown sections, as well as East and West Mt. Airy.
Prior to that, he was a lieutenant for 12 years with the Highway Patrol, a specialized unit in the Philadelphia Police Department.
While there, he had extensive experience with logistics, security and training.
Part of the job was being responsible for developing escort protocol for visiting dignitaries, including Pope Francis’ visit in 2015, as well as planning security for the National Democratic and Republican Conventions which were held in the city.
While with the Highway Patrol, he served on the five-county South East Pennsylvania Regional Task Force, which was responsible for establishing standards and protocols to protect key targets and infrastructure from terrorist attacks.
Besides a law enforcement career, Hearn has nearly 28 years of firefighting and emergency management experience.
From 1986 through 2013 Hearn had been a past president and firefighter with the all-volunteer Elkins Park Fire Company in Montgomery County.
In addition, from 2005 to 2013, he had been with Cheltenhem Township’s Emergency Management Agency (CTEA) where he had helped prepare and plan for fire and other emergency hazards.
According to his resume, Hearn studied at Holy Family University for a bachelor’s of business administration (BBA), and also had attended the FBI National Academy.
Hearn, who has three adult children, is also a graduate of the Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command.
Although his salary as Newtown’s police chief was not disclosed, in the 2019 township budget that pay is listed at $125,000.
Last May, the supervisors had agreed pay $14,150 to the search firm of Safe City Solutions to look for police chief candidates to replace retiring Chief Pasquilini.
Supervisors approve contract with paid firefighters
Also at the meeting, the supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a new three-year union contract with the township’s paid firefighting staff.
The agreement with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1300 runs through 2021 and provides yearly pay raises of three-and-a-half percent, three percent and three percent.
According to township manager Micah Lewis, the deal also covers certain retirement incentives based on age and service, as well as education incentives.
He noted that the union has agreed to reopen the pact to discuss the recommendations of the township’s detailed fire study, which is expected to be finished soon.
Lewis also thanked the township’s labor attorney for handling the contract talks, which he said were both “long and difficult.”
There are eight paid full-time firefighters and a chief who are on duty from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
During other times, the all-volunteer Newtown Fire Association covers the township’s fire-protection needs.