FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) – Farrell’s new police chief has some plans for the city. The first is to change the police department’s image.
The city of Farrell named Jon Rococi as interim police chief on Jan. 1. The appointment came on the heels of a scandal involving former police chief Thomas Burke.
Burke used a racial slur in an email dated April 1 about a fundraiser. The message read: “Good morning. Please click and review. Even a one dollar will be greatly appreciated. Them Sharon ‘expletive’ gotta learn how to read.” Burke apologized and resigned five days later.
Rococi is now hard at work rebuilding the trust of residents and respect in the department. City Manager Michael Ceci said Rococi’s 21 years as a patrol sergeant gives him the experience to set a plan.
Rococi said education on both sides begins with community watch programs that involve city leaders and residents. It’s the first step to bringing the two groups together. Another goal is getting officers out of patrol cars and more accessible.
“Having officers walk and on bikes provides more of an opportunity for them to have a positive interaction with community members,” Rococi said. “Our goal is to provide a professional and community oriented police department.
Rococi will remain the police chief until March. If he continues to fulfill his duties as interim police chief the position will be permanent.