The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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June 11, 2014

Mazzeo mum on pursuit of city chief post

2 apply for top cop position

— SUNBURY — Cpl. Brad Hare and officer Steve Bennick have applied for the city’s chief of police position, while former department head Steve Mazzeo is undecided on whether he will seek the post from which he was demoted in mid-May.

The deadline for applications is at 4:30 p.m. today.

“It is undetermined at this time,” Mazzeo said Tuesday while declining to answer any other questions about the position.

Mazzeo was demoted more than six years after he accepted the police chief position under then-Mayor Jess Woodring. Current Mayor David Persing announced the move at a council meeting in which Mazzeo was not in attendance.

“The decision was based on serious personnel issues that will not be discussed in public,” Persing told the large crowd gathered for the meeting. Mazzeo became an active-duty officer of the police department that night.

Persing said little more, other than announcing that Hare would become acting chief for three months.

Hare and Bennick are the only two to apply for the post, city clerk Terry Specht said Tuesday.

In 2013, Mazzeo, who has been in law enforcement for more than 37 years, oversaw the investigation into one of the most notable murders the city has seen.

The probe into the slaying of Troy LaFerrara, of Port Trevorton, cost the department several thousands of dollars in overtime, Persing said.

That situation can’t be predicted, Persing said.

Mazzeo became nationally known after the homicide that led to the arrests of Miranda and Elytte Barbour, of Selinsgrove, who are accused of killing LaFerrara, 42. The newlywed couple strangled and stabbed LaFerrara in Sunbury, police said.

The decision to demote Mazzeo was not personal, Persing said, adding that the department would get an overhaul.

Hare has already dealt with several issues in the city, including an alleged mobile meth lab that was seized in the Northumberland County office building parking lot.

Bennick is also a well-known veteran in the department and has several ties to the community.

Interviews are set for Monday.

“We will announce the new chief the first meeting in July,” Persing said. “The biggest challenge for the new chief is what suggestions they have and what they can bring to the department.”

Mazzeo, who became city chief Feb. 14, 2008, has also become popular among residents for his volunteer work.

Mazzeo is a member of various city organizations and is active in Sunbury events.

 

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