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Bloom picked as new detective, Zehring as sergeant for Middletown Police Department

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 1/9/19

A truck driver who became a cop is Middletown police department’s new detective.

Borough council during its Jan. 2 meeting voted 7-0 to promote Patrol Officer Wade Bloom to the new second …

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Bloom picked as new detective, Zehring as sergeant for Middletown Police Department

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A truck driver who became a cop is Middletown police department’s new detective.

Borough council during its Jan. 2 meeting voted 7-0 to promote Patrol Officer Wade Bloom to the new second detective position, effective Jan. 1.

Council also voted to promote Patrol Officer Tyler Zehring to sergeant.

The Middletown department had one detective position, held since January 2018 by Sgt. Gary Rux.

Interim Police Chief Sgt. Dennis Morris during hearings on the 2019 budget requested council include funds for adding a second detective position. The investigative caseload is too much for one detective, Morris told council.

Council also hopes that adding a second detective will help reduce department overtime costs.

Morris during budget hearings said that the second detective position would be filled by elevating someone already within the MPD ranks. Morris had mentioned Bloom as the likely candidate for the job.

Bloom in the 1990s owned several tractor-trailers that he leased to different companies. He sold the rigs and took a year off to build the home that he lives in in Shermans Dale, Perry County.

He then worked for Roadway Express as a supervisor for six years.

Bloom started getting into the security field while working for Home Depot. He was an armed civilian guard at Carlisle Barracks before Bloom decided to enroll in the police academy.

Bloom started as a part-time police officer with the Middletown department on May 16, 2008. He has been full time with Middletown since Feb. 11, 2009.

Bloom is getting a pay raise of just under $8,000 from being promoted to detective. His salary goes from $77,996 to $85,862.

Zehring as sergeant will also be paid $85,862 a year. However, his pay is jumping by nearly $18,000 — from$67,995 — due to Zehring being low on the pay scale because he has been with the Middletown department less than four years.

Zehring was hired as a part-time officer in July 2015 and made full-time a year later.

Zehring’s lack of experience — compared to other full-time officers with the Middletown department who had applied for the sergeant position — led Councilor Dawn Knull to vote against promoting Zehring.

“This is not because I’m against Tyler or against the police,” Knull said before casting her vote. “He has only been with the department four years and I just feel that we have other seasoned officers that should be in the position.”

Councilor Robert Reid also voted against promoting Zehring to sergeant, although Reid did not say why. Reid could not be reached for comment.

Voting to promote Zehring were Council President Angela Lloyd, Vice President Michael Woodworth, and Ian Reddinger and Ellen Willenbecher.

Councilor Jenny Miller abstained, noting that her son is a full-time patrol officer with the Middletown department who would be supervised by Zehring as sergeant.

Miller also abstained on Dec. 18 when council voted to promote Rux to sergeant.

After Knull’s comment, Woodworth noted: “I wish we had more seasoned officers that passed the sergeant’s test to pick from.”

Council in choosing Zehring promoted him over two other officers with more experience on the Middletown department, both of whom had scored higher than Zehring in written and oral exams given through the borough Civil Service Commission.

However, council is not bound by the scores in deciding whom to appoint to sergeant from the list of candidates certified by the commission, according to a borough ordinance.

Zehring also had been recommended for the sergeant’s position by both Morris and by Mayor James H. Curry III, Curry pointed out just before the council vote.

Well before the vote to make him sergeant, Zehring had already made a significant impact on the department.

Zehring in 2016 was credited with more arrests — 99 — than any other officer on the Middletown force, despite having spent most of that year on a part-time basis.

Zehring was quick to point out at the time that “one person doesn’t make an arrest” but that each arrest is a team effort Zehring shared with multiple other officers on the Middletown department.

Zehring’s mother worked for the State Police. That, and seeing members of his own family deal with the consequences of criminal actions, inspired him to a career in law enforcement.

He started with the Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office in July 2013 and worked as a part-time officer with Royalton police before coming to Middletown.

Zehring’s own cousin died from a heroin overdose in 2016.

Zehring’s penchant for going after drug dealers led former Chief George Mouchette in 2017 to describe Zehring as “a pit bull” and the “best and brightest” among all officers on the Middletown department.

Counting Zehring the Middletown department now has four sergeants — the others being Rux, Morris, and Sgt. Scott Yoder.

Morris, however, has been interim chief since August, when Curry put him in that position when sexual assault charges were filed against Mouchette.

The charges against Mouchette are pending in Dauphin County Court. Mouchette is still employed by Middletown borough, although he has been on suspended without pay status since the charges were filed.