Police chief gets two-year contract
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.”