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Troopers retire but get back on the beat in communities

Many veteran retired state police officers are deciding to stay in law enforcement at a local level


By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

SUNBURY, Pa. — Fred Dyroff and Sean McGinley retired from the Pennsylvania State Police on the same day, Friday, Jan. 13, after serving 25 years. But they didn’t hang up the uniform.

In their late 40s and not ready to leave the workforce, or police work, the pair quickly landed municipal police chief positions in neighboring towns.

“I don’t know if I would know how to do anything else,” said Dyroff.

As they neared the end of their state police careers, both learned of nearby municipal police chief job openings.

Dyroff, a Lewisburg resident who last served as assistant director of the Investigative and Operational Support Division in the Bureau of Forensic Services, and McGinley, of Elysburg, former director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, each cast their names into the application pool and both were tapped for the jobs.

In the past month, McGinley has been settling into the chief position at Mahoning Township Police Department and Dyroff has taken over as chief in the borough of Mifflinburg.

“It’s a natural transition,” said McGinley, who is following in the footsteps of his late father who served for years as police chief in Centralia.

And it’s happening more frequently as many veteran retired state police officers are deciding to stay in law enforcement at a local level.

After a 28-year career with the state police, Marshall “Angelo” Martin was hired in October to serve as director of Susquehanna University’s public safety office. At Bucknell University, the director of public safety since 2012 has been Stephen J. Barilar, a retired state police officer with 26 years of service. Since November 2015, retired trooper Matthew Burrows has patrolled hallways in the Lewisburg School District.

In March 2015, less than two years after he retired from the state police as director of patrol operations, Rod Witherite was back in uniform as Watsontown borough police chief.

“I knew when I left at 48 that I was going back into the workforce,” said Witherite. “We (retired state officers) lived a highly regimented life for 25 years.”

Public benefits

The public they serve benefits by having law enforcement leaders with extensive training and in return they have a chance to get to know the community, he said.

“We’re more involved in community policing than ever before and get to know people,” said Witherite, who has set in place new policies, renovated the department and is now working toward attaining accreditation status which only about 10 percent of the 1,000 municipal police departments in Pennsylvania have secured.

Witherite and Dyroff replaced long-serving chiefs, while McGinley has a more difficult task of taking over a department left in turmoil following the actions of former chief Chad Thomas who was accused of huffing on the job and was fired last May after pleading guilty to possessing a chemical solvent in his office. Like Witherite before them, Dyroff and McGinley are taking a look at their new departments and deciding what changes, if any, are needed. Their first order of business is filling vacancies.

McGinley oversees six officers and is currently interviewing for two more. He also has set a goal of retaining the Mahoning Township police force’s accreditation status, which it lost after three years, and will be giving the public a chance to learn what is involved in community policing.

“We’ve been taking about a citizen police academy,” he said of upcoming educational presentations he’d like to offer.

“There’s enough to do,” said Dyroff, who will be updating technology in the department to better support the six full-time and two part-time officers.

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©2017 The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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