New Collier chief comes to department from city police post

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New Collier Police Chief Craig Campbell must feel like he’s in a different world.

The former Pittsburgh Police lieutenant has exchanged his work environment in the city's Zone 4, which includes busy, high-traffic areas like Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Shadyside and New Homestead, for the township’s rolling hills and spread-out housing.

"It's a beautiful community,“ Chief Campbell said, noting that he and his wife, Aprill-Noelle, a city detective, are putting the nearly 13-square-mile township first on their house-hunting list.

Chief Campbell's first day on the job was Aug. 4. He was sworn into office Aug. 13 by Common Pleas Judge Gerard Bigley. He replaces Thomas Devin, who retired on July 31 after nearly 40 years of police work.

Chief Campbell, 45, who has 26 years of law enforcement experience, holds a bachelor's degree in administration of justice from Penn State University. He also has a number of law enforcement certifications and is highly decorated, having received the Medal of Valor, a Purple Heart for injuries sustained by gunfire, plus multiple meritorious service awards and commendation certificates.

As a police officer, he has worked for Spring Township in Centre County, St. Clair Borough in Schuylkill County and Mahanoy City Borough, also in Schuykill County, and since 1993 for the City of Pittsburgh's Bureau of Police, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant in 2012.

His career has provided experience in many facets of police work, including managing budgets, resources and personnel.

On April 4, 2009, he was called by another officer to help as a hostage negotiator in the Richard Poplawski case in which three city policemen were killed. Poplawski later was found guilty of shooting the three Pittsburgh police and sentenced to death. He is appealing the ruling.

As Collier's new police leader, Chief Campbell said he's taking stock of the department, which consists of three sergeants and 10 officers, as well as checking on equipment. He hopes to hire an additional police officer within the next few months.

He's also working on a new set of rules and regulations for the department.

"It's a similar job administratively, but the public and type of policy are completely different," he said.

Collier received more than 60 applications for the police chief's job, some from as far away as Florida and Canada.

George Macino, president of the township's Board of Commissioners, expressed confidence in the new chief.

"We welcome Chief Campbell to Collier Township. Coupled with his extensive experience, specialized training and skills, we are confident that he will not only be well embraced by the community and our officers, but he will improve elements of public safety here in Collier," Mr. Macino said.

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer:

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