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Sgt. Dennis Morris is interim Middletown police chief after charges brought against Mouchette

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 8/21/18

Effective immediately Sgt. Dennis Morris will serve as interim chief of the Middletown Police Department until further notice, borough Mayor James H. Curry III announced at the close of the Tuesday, …

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Sgt. Dennis Morris is interim Middletown police chief after charges brought against Mouchette

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Sgt. Dennis Morris is serving as interim chief of the Middletown Police Department until further notice, borough Mayor James H. Curry III announced at the close of the Tuesday borough council meeting.

The move is necessary following Curry’s decision earlier Tuesday to suspend without pay Middletown Police Chief George Mouchette.

Mouchette was charged Tuesday with aggravated indecent assault without consent, criminal attempt of rape, and unlawful restraint following an incident that allegedly occurred in his office in the borough police station Aug. 13.

Morris was promoted to sergeant in August 2017, a position in which since then he has been in charge of department operations, which include patrol functions, the investigative arm of patrol, and the department’s computer systems.

Morris started with the Middletown police department in 2000, but was fired by an earlier borough council in 2014. In May 2015 an arbitrator ruled that the borough had no grounds to fire Morris. Council voted to reinstate Morris to the force in November 2015, after a Dauphin County judge tossed aside a borough petition to set aside the arbitrator’s decision.

Besides back pay, Morris was awarded an additional $52,000 by the borough to settle a federal lawsuit that Morris had brought against the borough regarding his firing in 2014.

Mouchette was arraigned on the charges earlier Tuesday before District Judge Kenneth A. Lenker, who set bail at $25,000. Mouchette posted the amount via surety bonds on Tuesday afternoon and was released.

A preliminary hearing for Mouchette has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 4 before Judy. He has not returned phone calls and a text message seeking comment.

A 48-year old retired New York City police detective, Mouchette was appointed interim borough police chief by Curry in January 2017 to replace former Chief John Bey, who had resigned in December 2016 after holding the position just more than two years.

Borough council by a 6-1 vote made Mouchette permanent chief on Aug. 7, 2017, at an annual salary of $96,000.