Po­lice chief gets two-year con­tract

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

YARDiEY BOROrdH – Coun­cilmem­bers voted unan­i­mously Dec. 18 to give long­time bor­ough Po­lice Chief James O’Neill a two-year con­tract.

The con­tract, which ex­pires on Dec. 31, 2014, was ne­go­ti­ated by the Po­lice Tran­si­tion Com­mit­tee and will be signed be­fore the end of the year.

Bor­ough so­lic­i­tor Jor­dan Yea­ger said his salary will not be made pub­lic un­til af­ter the pa­per­work is signed. O’Neill cur­rently makes $77,965.

“While the agree­ment has not been signed yet, at its heart it pro­vides that the chief will con­tinue to serve the bor­ough dur­ing a tran­si­tion pe­riod over the next two years,” Yea­ger said.

O’Neill, a 25-year veteran of the po­lice force, in­formed the bor­ough ear­lier this year that he in­tended to re­tire at the end of 2012. He later changed his mind, cit­ing “changed cir­cum­stances.”

O’Neill will re­main the de­part­ment’s chief un­til Dec. 31, 2014, lead­ing up to his full re­tire­ment. Dur­ing 2014, the bor­ough will con­duct a search for a po­lice chief.

Ear­lier this year, the bor­ough con­sid­ered out­sourc­ing po­lice ser­vices to a pri­vate se­cu­rity firm, merg­ing with mul­ti­ple mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to cre­ate a re­gional force or hand con­trol over to the state po­lice but made the de­ci­sion to keep its bor­ough force.

O’Neill started as a part-time po­lice of­fi­cer in 1982 and be­came a full-time em­ployee in 1985. He was pro­moted to sergeant in 1986 and to lieu­tenant in May 1998. He has been po­lice chief since May 2000.

He told Buck­sio­calNews.com that he es­pe­cially loves the peo­ple in the bor­ough. “What’s not to love? When you think of small-town Amer­ica, this is it.”

In his time on the Yardley Bor­ough po­lice force, O’Neill said tech­nol­ogy has had the big­gest im­pact on the de­part­ment. “We’ve gone from il­leg­i­ble hand-writ­ten re­ports to a point where we don’t use pa­per,” he said.

O’Neill grew up in the Ju­ni­ata sec­tion of North­east Philadel­phia. One of his pas­sions is “mus­cle­men cars – any­thing that’s clas­sic.”

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