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Middletown hires part-time police officer; council gives OK to hire 4 more; Morris wants 2 full-time

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 4/24/19

Middletown Borough Council on April 16 gave approval to interim Police Chief Sgt. Dennis Morris to hire a new part-time officer.

The new part-time officer is 25-year old John Marsh, whom Morris …

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Middletown hires part-time police officer; council gives OK to hire 4 more; Morris wants 2 full-time

Posted

Middletown Borough Council on April 16 gave approval to interim Police Chief Sgt. Dennis Morris to hire a new part-time officer.

The new part-time officer is 25-year old John Marsh, whom Morris said has been a Pennsylvania Capitol police officer for the past eight months. Morris said Marsh has a college education, but the chief did not specify the type of degree.

Council also gave Morris blanket authority to hire up to four more part-time officers, to help fill some of the gap resulting from the recent resignation of full-time Officer James Bennett.

Council also voted to approve advertising changes to the borough’s Civil Service Commission regulations intended to make it easier to hire qualified candidates for full-time police officers.

The changes, which the commission unanimously approved during its own meeting earlier April 16, would allow the borough to conduct its own written exams of candidates.

Right now, the borough is limited to hiring candidates who test through a Dauphin County-wide consortium.

Often by the time the borough is ready to hire someone from the list produced by the consortium, many of the top-scoring candidates have already been hired by other municipalities, commission member Todd Webb told the Press & Journal.

The borough will still have the option of hiring candidates from the consortium list, but being able to do its own testing will give the borough a pool of candidates who are only interested in working for Middletown, Webb said.

Advertising the changes now should speed up council addressing another of the interim chief’s requests — authority to hire two new full-time officers.

One is to replace Bennett. The other is a new full-time officer that council authorized in the 2019 budget, Morris said.

The borough website lists 11 full-time officers on the Middletown Police Department roster, including Morris.

The department lists six part-time officers, not counting Marsh, whose hiring is pending him passing all required tests, the chief said.

Morris has been interim chief since August 2018, when he was appointed to the position by Mayor James H. Curry III in place of George Mouchette, who had been chief.

Mouchette was charged over an alleged incident in his office with aggravated indecent assault without consent, criminal attempt-rape forcible compulsion, and unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury.

The charges against Mouchette are pending and his next scheduled appearance in Dauphin County Court is June 24.

Mouchette is still listed as a borough employee, but has been on suspended without pay status since the charges against him were filed Aug. 21.