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Council Appoints Capt. Richet Interim Police Chief

Deputy Police Chief Capt. Willie Richet would take on the role starting March 1.

Norristown Municipal Council opened the agenda at Tuesday night's meeting to add a vote on making Deputy Police Chief Capt. Willie Richet the interim Chief of Police beginning March 1. The motion passed unanimously with 6 votes. (Councilwoman Mimi DeSouza was absent from the meeting.)

Capt. Richet is scheduled to retire alongside current Police Chief Russell Bono on Feb. 28, and will still technically be retiring and receiving his retirement and DROP benefits, but will hold the interim office until a permanent replacement can be found. According to Councilman Bill Caldwell, chair of the ad hoc search committee, the process could take up to six months. A salary for the position is still being negotiated.

Council President Gary Simpson noted that the move is a temporary stop-gap measure and that the search for a permanent replacement would continue.

"[Capt. Richet] cannot apply for the full-time position," added Simpson.

Some residents had previously expressed concern that appointing Capt. Richet interim chief openend the municipality up to legal action from Chief Bono, who reportedly would have had legal standing to contest his not being offered the same consideration. Chief Bono's separation agreement with the municipality, approved by council at the Jan. 7 council meeting, prohibits his bringing suit against the municipality.

Caldwell noted that council was sensitive to concerns about the DROP program and the appearance of special favors and noted that appointing Capt. Richet interim chief was a move they considered a positive one for the community.

"We wanted to make sure that people understand that we're not doing this to give a guy another crack at a position," said Caldwell.

Council still expects some officers within the department currently will apply for the position.

"One of the things Chief Bono did a good job at was preparing his people for bigger and better," said Caldwell. "I think he's done a really fine job with that."

The job posting for the position is expected to be advertised starting this week.

Norristown Patch announced the news of Capt. Richet's appointment via Facebook as it happened last night, prompting dozens of residents to offer congratulations and best wishes to Capt. Richet in his new role.

"Thank you everyone and believe me I will not let you down," Capt. Richet posted in response. "I will give my all. I thank God for Blessing me."

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OMG January 16, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Congratulations Gene. I hope you can make a difference and see through what's there. None of the officer's in that department need to be chief because they are corrupt. We need to find someone that is not already employed with Norristown police department. For all that you might as well keep Gene permanently. Council is a joke.
big jon January 16, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Yea Council is a joke and yea a lot of norristown cops seem corrupt I know of one detective who should be fired for what I had to deal with involving a theft of my property. I think/hope capt richet is a good guy and should do good but yea they need to hire a fresh qualified person to take the chief position.
Sally19401 January 16, 2013 at 06:24 PM
It should never have had to come to the spot of an interim chief for Norristown. I have known for 2 years that Chief Bono was retiring so Council should have known. It is positive that Council is starting a search and that Captain Richet will not be allowed to apply for the permanent job. It would appear that the bottom line is that we are paying more money due to Council's failure to get the job done. The process to hire a new chief should not take longer than 6 months. Concerned citizens of Norristown will be watching as it is not the best for morale to have 3 bosses or styles to respond to in a year.
Imouttahere January 17, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Norristown continues its downward spiral into the abyss of no return. Most of these Council people are absolutely deplorable. Their decision in this appointment is unconscionable and magnify's their incompetence. Dr Desousa is the only one smart enough not to vote for this. The others follow the leader and are good puppets. Against the advice of the District Attorney and Sheriff, Mr Simpkins and his cronies have foolishly went in a direction that could have devastating and dire consequences for the County seat. I don't know Capt Richet but being in a temporary position I'm not sure he will be respected or have the initiative to take the control needed to keep Norristown safe. I am sure The NPD has very fine officers and I hope all turns out well. We are living in a very scary town with pathetic leadership that is more concerned with themselves than the town they were elected to run.
patchsux January 17, 2013 at 03:19 AM
I once posted here that capt richet shouldn't be the chief, however he has actually come to council and the citizens rescue. he already knows he cant get the job, he is retired. because of council's ineptness there was no one and i mean no one they give the "interim tag to and be respected. capt richet is well respected in the community, so don't criticize him, this was a very gracious move by capt richet and again shows his commitment to we the people
Dp January 17, 2013 at 03:40 AM
Congratulations, Chief Richet. I am sure he will step up and bring Norristown, back to a community that once was. Make our streets safe and back to a real suburb town.
Frank j January 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM
I don't think this is about capt richet but about council dragging their feet and not being responsible.
Mohandus Frieri January 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Now council can go back to goofing off indefinitely. More drugs, more death, more crime. Norristown, the town that hates itself.
Its Just Me January 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Cronies, dragging feet, not able and deplorable. Well, thr simple fact of the matter is RACE played a key part in this process. The will of some versus the community first of others was behind it. Most of those who write comments dont have the foggiest idea of what reag occurred in the process. The DA has absolutely no standing in deciding the path or direction of a police department. Did she stop Whitemarsh from hiring within after their racial profiling suit? Did she suggest to East or West Norriton what they should do regarding their changing of the guard? The answer is NO! However, those in Norristown should do as I say approach was not and should not have been received well. Those other areas went as far as not having their chief positions to need college degrees as well as certain other credentials. Might I suggest all areas were Anglo as well! Its a sad state that we stillive in such a racist society. I have watch so many good things come out of this counc especially since they were handed a total mess. Most of you have no clue... And to outtHere, begone because you probably dont add a darn thing to this town but negativity!!!
Sally19401 January 17, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Frank J - you are correct. It is mostly about the ineptness of Council. If Willie Richet wanted to be Captain, (which I don't know if he did) he should not have put in his papers to retire at the same time as Chief Bono. It is very challenging working for interim bosses. It should never have come to this since Council has known for years that Chief Bono was retiring. At the very least, Gary Simpson (as Council president) or Bill Caldwell (as Chair of Public Safety Committee) should have started the process at the minimum 6 months prior to the retirement date for Chief Bono. We need to ensure they keep the hiring process moving forward.
Sally19401 January 18, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Its Just Me - why is having job credentials racist? I have met many educated African American police officers. If you scan jobs around the country, a degree is required for municipalities the size of Norristown. The job here in Norristown will manage a $7 million budget. I don't see that having a college degree is a stretch. The other credentials that should be required are an FBI course (that many officers take and are paid for by the dept) and 10 years experience with increasing responsibility.
jxjipper January 18, 2013 at 01:44 AM
If the people in this town don't realize that this Borough is being run by a defacto group of certain churches and their members and clergy who use council as their proxy votes that you are crazy. The separation of church/ church influence and government in this "town" has been blurred for a long long time. Two of the members are already some sort of clergy. The influence of the church in politics here has always been here it's just changed hands in the last 10 years. It will play a HUGE part in the new Chief whomever he is.
Sally19401 January 18, 2013 at 04:49 PM
I think we are all learning and need to exert our influences. There is separation of politics and religion for a reason.
Respect First January 18, 2013 at 05:17 PM
From the Robotics situation in the school district and now the Chief of Police situation, it shows that if the people come together we can make a difference. As Sally19401 said, "we need to exert our influences" and come together as one.
John Sailor January 21, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Can they please investigate the community police guy who protects businesses and not the community. Businesses are not people, they are corporations. One in particular was violating the delivery and oil spill laws and stopped for a while, but is back at it again.
Vicchio January 23, 2013 at 01:24 PM
More of the same, with everybody getting paid off to look the other way.

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