At the end of Monday's White Oak council meeting, borough officials held a retirement party for police Chief Joseph Hoffman.
"Every time I've gone somewhere as the mayor I've heard, 'you have one of the best chiefs ... children look up to him, adults too' ... we all do," Mayor Ina Jean Marton said.
Mr. Hoffman, 66, is retiring after more than 14 years as chief and after 42 years in law enforcement.
''This is the hardest job for me to leave," Mr. Hoffman said Monday.
He has headed a department of 10 full-time and two part- time officers.
Before coming to White Oak, Mr. Hoffman worked for two years as a prison counselor in maximum security at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh, then two years as a special agent with the Pennsylvania Crime Commission, investigating organized crime and political corruption. He spent 23 years as a criminal investigator for the U.S. Treasury Department, investigating bribery and extortion and providing presidential protection under the Secret Service, formerly a branch of the Treasury.
He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, and a master's degree in public administration, both from the University of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Hoffman teaches criminal justice as an adjunct professor at LaRoche College, and will continue to teach this year after his retirementDec. 31.
He said the White Oak Police Department is outstanding, and the community has been very supportive.
Since he became chief in June 1998, he said the department has provided 35 programs to the public, including the Citizens Police Academy, Cops and Kids basketball at Francis McClure Intermediate School, Crime Watch and Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs.
"The career has been very rewarding and challenging," Mr. Hoffman said.
During his time as chief, White Oak police captured several bank robbers after extensive investigations, he said.
"We work with surrounding police departments, McKeesport, North Versailles, Elizabeth, Versailles, North Huntingdon ... we have excellent relations with them," he said. "We back each other up and we coordinate burglary investigations and share information.''
Borough Manager Jack Petro said council has been conducting an internal search for a new chief within the police department and has two candidates.
The selection of chief could be announced next month during a council meeting.
Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.