A Unity Township man with 27 years of law enforcement experience is Lincoln’s new police chief.
Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the hiring of Richard Bosco to succeed the late Michael Lupinacci.
Councilman Paul Vereb was absent.
Lupinacci, 51, of West Hempfield died on May 16 of neuroendocrine cancer.
He was hired as a rookie officer in 1999 and was chief for 2½ years. He spent his last 18 months fighting the disease, which was diagnosed on his 50th birthday.
Bosco said he met Lupinacci once, and has heard nothing but positive things about him from borough residents.
“All I can tell you with true earnest is that he was highly revered,” Bosco said. “Nobody’s ever made any type of comment about trying to fill his shoes, but I fully understand their reverence toward him, and I respect that.”
Council president Mark Betzner said Bosco’s experience made him stand out from the seven other candidates.
“I think that we’re going to see a nice level of excellence and integrity coming to the borough with him leading the police department,” Betzner said. “We’re going to see our police department grow.”
“He has a very good personality,” Councilwoman Tammy Firda said. “He comes with a lot of great credentials. I think he will work out really well here. He believes in community-oriented policing, and I think that’s really nice.”
Bosco, 56, said he grew up on a 200-acre farm in Acme in eastern Westmoreland County, and developed a love for law enforcement.
“I absolutely love serving the people,” he said.
Bosco served in the Marine Corps as a military police officer with the National Security Agency. He was a patrolman in Latrobe from 1985-1990.
Bosco began serving on task forces for the state Attorney General’s Office in September 1990, including as a special agent with the bureau of criminal investigations for the past five years, handling white collar crime with a specialty in environmental crimes.
He led the attorney general’s narcotics task force in the South Hills for 18 years.
“I ran multiple task forces specializing in the small communities and boroughs of Allegheny County,” Bosco said.
He will retire from those on Aug. 30 and start as Lincoln’s chief on Aug. 31.
“When you’re raised to a level at the Attorney General’s Office, you don’t get to deal with the individuals and quality of life,” Bosco said. “It becomes more dealing with the problems of the commonwealth and not necessarily problems of the individual citizens. My desire is to turn back to leading, acquiring and seeking out those who require assistance in regards to a better quality of life, a better quality of feeling safe and secure in their community.
“Anytime you take over a new role you have to assess the needs of the community and assess the needs of the department at the same time. Public safety is always going to be number one.”
He said community-oriented policing is a top priority, and he favors crime-watch groups and building rapport between officers and residents.
Patrolman Clifford LaFever will remain officer in charge until Bosco takes command. Bosco was hired with a one-year probationary period pending physical and psychological exams and certification by Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.
His base salary is $45,000 this year, with raises to $46,000 in 2014, $48,000 in 2015 and $50,000 in 2016.
Bosco and his wife Deborah have been married for 12 years. Four of his five children serve in the military. He has fthree grandchildren.
In other police matters, council unanimously accepted the resignation of part-time officer Tyler Scruggs.
Lincoln has two full-time and eight part-time officers, including the new chief and departing patrolman.