The Boyertown Area Times

Caernarvon police officer running for district judge

- By Karen Shuey kshuey@readingeag­

Melissa Seidel-Karpovich knows a career change can happen at any point.

She has a prime example of that in her life. Her father, William Seidel, switched gears late in life, signing up for the police academy at age 42.

And now, after following her father into law enforcemen­t, Seidel-Karpovich is looking to make a change of her own. She is hoping to shift from a 15-year career as a police officer to a new one behind the bench.

Seidel-Karpovich is running in the May primary election for a district judge seat, hoping to replace the retiring District Judge David Glass. The district covers the southern Berks County communitie­s of Brecknock, Caernarvon, Robeson and Union townships as well as Birdsboro and New Morgan.

She will appear on both Democratic and Republican ballots.

Seidel-Karpovich said she thinks her experience in law enforcemen­t set her up perfectly to take on a new role in the criminal justice system.

“My lifetime experience in public service has prepared me for this next step,” the 34-yearold said. “I think this is a great time and opportunit­y to take that step now. I want to bring those same values from my previous experience­s to this office.”

Seidel-Karpovich enrolled at the Reading Police Academy shortly after graduating from Daniel Boone High School, becoming a certified police officer at the age of 19.

In 2009, she joined the Berks County sheriff’s office. She spent the next five years serving the county as a deputy sheriff before leaving for a position in the Caernarvon Township Police Department. Now, after spending eight years in that post, she said she’s ready for a new and different challenge.

District judges issue arrest and search warrants, oversee arraignmen­ts, set bail and hold criminal preliminar­y hearings. They also hear complaints in civil matters, mediate landlordte­nant disputes and perform weddings.

Seidel-Karpovich said she believes her background in law enforcemen­t has given her a fuller perspectiv­e of the judicial system. She noted that individual cases have their own unique set of circumstan­ces that must be considered before rendering a decision.

“I will need to make an appropriat­e decision in all kinds of different cases,” she said. “As a police officer, a lot of times you use your discretion when it comes to things like giving citations so in that way I have been exercising my judgment.”

District judges serve sixyear terms and have annual salaries of $106,245. The primary is May 16.

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Melissa SeidelKarp­ovich

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