We’ve got a new top cop

Chief Pettine is retiring. One of HPD’s own, John Viola, was promoted. He starts Monday.
Officer John Viola

Details in the News-o-Delco (more about John Viola and the US OPEN on philly.com below):

John Viola becomes police chief in Haverford

HAVERFORD >> After a career that has spanned more than 45 years, former Deputy Chief of Police John Viola became the township’s new chief of police, effective Monday.

The commissioners voted unanimously in favor of Viola’s promotion. Viola succeeds former Chief Carmen Pettine, who is retiring.

Family, friends, supporters from multiple police departments, Brookline Fire Department and several county officials were on hand as Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Green administered the oath of office.

Commissioner and Chair of the Police Committee Stephen D’Emilio noted that Viola has served in many capacities during the course of a distinguished career that began in January 1970, when Viola joined the Patrol Division.

In his earliest role as a police medical emergency responder, Viola helped transport sick and injured persons on police medical wagons, D’Emilio said.

Appointment to the Youth Aid Division and Detective Division followed in 1975.

Then in 1991, Viola joined the Highway Safety/Special Operations Unit, honing skills for major accident investigations.

Additionally, Viola trained in arson investigations and SWAT/crisis management and has served as Tactical SWAT commander for over 15 years, D’Emilio said.

Viola was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1994 and became special operations supervisor several years later.

Subsequent roles included assignment as Delco’s lead law enforcement representative on the Southeastern PA Terrorism Task Force and serving on the Five County Terrorism Task Force under Homeland Security as the Haz Mat SWAT Commander and as commander on the Major Incident Response Team, D’Emilio said.

Viola became Haverford’s deputy chief in 2008.

He has received numerous awards for duties performed while serving as commander for all security law enforcement at the 2013 USGA Golf Open at Merion Golf Club, D’Emilio added.

D’Emilio further noted that Viola worked closely with the Philadelphia Police Department and Delco chiefs of police on security during Pope Francis’ visit in September.

And, Viola is “the only Haverford officer who wears the Commendation for Valor,” D’Emilio said. His dedication is further apparent in longtime ties to Brookline Fire, where Viola is chief, D’Emilio said.

Viola recognized and thanked Pettine for “trusting me, confiding in me and teaching me during these past seven years. It is with his support that I’m here tonight …

“I can assure all of you we will continue to work hard and keep our community safe,” Viola said.

The commissioners presented Pettine with a plaque expressing appreciation for his “outstanding contributions and dedicated service” to Haverford.

Pettine said while he’s looking forward to retirement, he had not looked forward to closing his office door for the last time on Monday.

“Over the past seven years, I’ve made a lot of friends in Haverford. That’s why it’s hard to leave. I love this township. I love the people I work with and I love my job. I am thrilled that Chief John Viola is replacing me. He was my choice and I know he’s going to make an excellent chief.

“Thank you. I’ll never forget you,” Pettine said.

D’Emilio said in an email Tuesday that Pettine “orchestrated many positive changes” during his tenure. “Our residents now feel they have a true partnership with the police. His leadership skills made everyone of his officers better.”

In other highlights of the meeting, the board approved a two-year employment agreement reappointing Larry Gentile township manager/emergency management coordinator.
Gentile said information regarding his own and Viola’s annual salaries was not yet available.

Additionally, the board approved a minor subdivision plan for the Harvard Road development that amends a prior plan by consolidating Lots 2 and 3, while also changing a lot line between Lots 5 and 6. The planning commission previously reviewed and recommended approval of changes.

Commissioners voted to award a $90,864 contract to Charles A. Higgins and Sons for installation of an Adaptive Traffic Control System that will be installed at Darby/Lansdowne Roads, Darby/Township Line and Darby/West Chester Pike intersections.

Officer Viola went to 2 different US OPENS to learn best practices before we had that infernal blimp buzzing around H-Town. Read that over at Philly.com

Delco Times has salaries listed. Pettine earned $143,096. Viola, as deputy chief, earned $123,182. As Chief, Viola will earn $147,000. That’s quite a bump!