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Concerned Residents Call for National Search for New Police Chief

Norristown's current chief of police, Russell J. Bono, retires at the end of February 2013.

A small group gathered on the corner of Sterigere and Stanbridge streets during rush hour on Thursday, Dec. 6, to publicize Norristown's search for a new police chief. 

The half dozen residents held signs reading "Police Chief Needed" and "Qualified Police Chief" and distributed flyers to passing cars alerting readers to the impending retirement of both Norristown Police Chief Russell J. Bono and Deputy Chief Captain Willie Richet. Both men are scheduled to retire early next year.

The flyer also implores residents to contact their council members and encourage them to begin a national search for a qualified candidate.

Norristown Municipal Council has not yet addressed the retirement of its two top cops at any pubic meeting, but has reportedly been discussing the matter at length in executive session. While a national search has been discussed as an option, council has also reportedly been considering rehiring Capt. Richet to take over the post. Council members are said to be split over the decision.

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kidzmom December 10, 2012 at 04:32 AM
the new chief should be from out- of-the-area. an unknown..that way he or she could start fresh. no favoritism. maybe a female chief??
Feodor Tiorlenko December 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM
This is a tremendously edifying article I had never previously read, though based upon my experience is highly historically accurate. Having said that, as a person who has supported Bill DeAngelis, find egregious his pronouncement that Norristown no longer has a pool of people competent to be mayor. While Bill did a competent and professional job as mayor during his time, who the hell is he to determine that he was the last person competent to be mayor? That statement is more insane than the fact that Norristown's last mayor and borough administrator served significant jail time. Bill, your opinion has changed from A to Z over time, putting yourself at the center of the debate. Never has the borough been in worse shape than today. It is more unsafe than ever before and never been in worse financial shape. What's more there is no leadership or way out of this mess. So please, about your opinion about the gene pool in Norristown. No, it is no longer Montella, but neither is any place outside of Montella. We don't even know if Montella is any longer Montella. So old white Italians won't govern Norristown moving forward does not make the position of mayor obsolete. So you won't govern Norristown moving forward does not make the position of mayor obsolete. A little narcissm goes a long way in your "well rounded discussion".
Durable December 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM
kidzmom, I'm with you. Just like the protesters said, we need a NATIONAL search. Any of the knuckleheads in Montco are too connected to corruption and I don't think anywhere else in PA has the kind of racial divide that we have (unless you want a top cop from Philly- shudder..)
OMG December 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Having a Mayor is not alright because we the people do not have anyone to go to when we can't get through with the police. Ever since we lost the last Mayor it's been hell. Who and where are our internal affairs that we should have to be able to report or complain to when police use their force in the wrong way. Not that Ted was the greatest but we had one and even though he wasn't the right one, when he left they didn't give it a second thought to replace him and now they are dragging their feet on this. Don't even think twice about hiring one of those nasty detectives for chief either. Everybody that has anything to do with Montgomery County justice is a joke and they all work in cahoots together. It’s a pattern that they have to stick with.
Mary Ellen Digregorio December 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Having a Mayor is not the problem with the Police Department. For 13 years Norristown Officials have allow Chief Bono to be the Chief of Police along with being the Public Safety Director. There has been no check and balances in the police department for this reason, No accountability!
Sally19401 December 10, 2012 at 04:33 PM
An Equal Opportunity National Search would provide qualified candidates of all backgrounds. That is why this is essential. It would ensure all candidates are treated fairly and would allow the citizens of Norristown to know that the new Chief of Police is qualified.
zanbott December 10, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I love seeing so many people upset about this situation. I was involved along with several other concerned citizens handing out leaflets last week on the corner of Stanbridge and Stergiere Streets. We also spent a few hours on Saturday handing out leaflets around the Norris Hills development. We cannot do it ourselves. We need your involvement. Here is a link to the email addresses of all of council. Please email them and call them and demand action today. It is just a few people on council who refuse to open a search. There are a few level headed people on council who want to do this the RIGHT way but their hands are tied. Talk to your neighbors, call the Times Herald and join us in our efforts to take back Norristown. Call and email today... http://norristown.org/council
patchsux December 10, 2012 at 05:22 PM
people they do not want a competent outsider for this position then they will be accountable and if we have learned 1 thing it is that the police and council do not want to be accountable to anyone they like the way things are they dont want change hell i bet most of them live outside the boro (west/east norriton)
Darren S December 10, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I can't fathom a reasonable explanation as to why the President of Council would not want to put a feather in his cap by finding the most qualified person for this position of Chief. In my mind the Chief is one of the most important positions if not thee most important. I hope it's not a case of cronyism or worse! Our council has an obligation to follow the will of the people. If you won't listen we will be forced to do what we need to, in order to protect our community. Mr President of Council, you are failing us and we will expose this to all the news media!
Darren S December 10, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Valid points!
Darren S December 10, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Norristown has been known as a town of good ole boys.
Darren S December 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Agreed, we need to go to the next council meeting and scream until they listen. Lets,get the TV stations there as well.
Darren S December 10, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Maybe our congressmen can help us as well as the county. We must not rest until a search is started.
OMG December 10, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Not having a Mayor isn't the problem but having another Mayor can help the problems and again we will have someone to file complaints about the police to.
OMG December 10, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Amen. I agree to your comment too. It's not going to stop the shooting and crime that has been allowed to build up in Norristown and I think it is too late. It's only going to get worse because they have allowed all the immigrants to come into our town, board, breed and start gangs. It is too late.
Sally19401 December 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM
The Police of Chief position is budgeted for $134,000 next year. I think that will bring in a qualified candidate. The 2013 budget is posted at norristown.org.
Unbelievable December 11, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I can't say I'm surprised seeing as Council always seems to screw us. As a life long resident, I am absolutely appalled at the way this Government has led us down a path of destruction. I think this is the final straw. I for one will not stay and fight but will list our house of three generations.
Jimenez December 11, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I to cant not believe how they no care for us and they just care about themselves. Can we not fire the president on counsel or ask for him to quit because he not doing a good job.
Sara s December 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Pathetic!
Dolores sanders December 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I just read another story where someone was held at knife point in their apartment on the north end. I am so concerned about councils decision to not react on the search of a new chief. Norristown is declining in a hurry.
Dolores sanders December 11, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I heard the council president serves a one year term and that it is almost up. President is selected by other members so we need to pressure them to pick a more effective leader.
Big dog Daryl December 11, 2012 at 07:58 PM
This town be gone crazy and we need a peep from the hood that know what up.
Respect First December 11, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Norristown Borough Code. Chapter 74. POLICE DEPARTMENT - http://www.ecode360.com/11549589 (Does not mention Chief of Police)
Respect First December 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM
§ 41.6-619. Police Department. The Municipality shall have a Police Department consisting of a Chief and such other classifications, ranks, and terms of appointment, employment and compensation as are set forth in the Administrative Code, other ordinance or general law. The Police Department and its duly appointed officers shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions: A. Law enforcement. The Department shall preserve the public peace, prevent and detect crime, police the streets and highways and enforce traffic statutes, ordinances and regulations relating thereto. The Department shall at all times aid in the administration and enforcement within the Municipality, of the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the ordinances of the Municipality, and have such other powers and duties as prescribed by the Administrative Code, other ordinances or general law. B. Maintenance of the Municipality Police. The Department shall train, equip, maintain, supervise and discipline the Municipality Police, in accordance with the Administrative Code or other ordinance.
Christina Yarbough December 12, 2012 at 12:29 AM
That's the problem. One of the roles of the mayor is to oversee the police. Since we don't have one it seems that the police do what they want with no real repercussions. The is no one to go to when you when the police can't or won't help and don't even get started on the judges. We need a help, bad!
Sharon McKeeman Himes December 12, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Norristown has gone to the dogs. Heck, my ferret Heidi could run the town better. She'll bite the crimnals to death while locked up in their cells. : ) Heidi for Police Chief!
Jerryfromcherry December 12, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Norristown has seen its best days! It is all down hill now.
Respect First December 12, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Flyer scolds Norristown Council for not starting police chief search - http://www.timesherald.com/article/20121212/NEWS01/121219839/flyer-scolds-norristown-council-for-not-starting-police-chief-search#full_story
zanbott December 12, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Thanks RESPECT FIRST for posting the link. Glad to see the Times Herald pick up this story. I think the outrage we are all feeling is getting turned into action. Keep the pressure on Council with calls and emails.
Batman December 12, 2012 at 08:02 PM
This town needs a Caped Crusader, get rid of all the illegals, slum lords, drug dealers, hood rats and white trash.

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