Wednesday, February 20, 2019


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Upper Perk Police Chief Retires
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer


            As previously announced, Michael Devlin retired Wednesday as chief of the Upper Perk Police Department. Devlin, who served in the position for nearly 16 years, accepted a retirement offer from Pennsburg Borough Council last week, according to Mayor Vicki Lightcap.

            Devlin, 50, described his exit as a mutually agreed upon decision. He wrote in an email message that he is taking advantage of an opportunity to retire based on the offer afforded to him by the borough due to financial constraints. His retirement will allow the department to avoid another officer layoff.

            "In no way, was I forced out," Devlin wrote in the message received Tuesday morning.

            "After 28-years in law enforcement, I am ready to move on and begin a new challenging endeavor."

            Joseph Adam Jr. begins March as the department's interim chief. A 1998 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, Adam accepted the appointment during council's Feb. 6 public meeting. He has been handling the department's day-to-day operations since late last year while Devlin began utilizing his contractually obligated paid time off.

            Lightcap, who oversees the department, expects the transition to be seamless. She said both men have been working together for two years to make sure Devlin's exit would be as smooth as possible. Council approved the retirement offer to Devlin in February and set Feb. 28 as his anticipated retirement date.

            The mayor credited Devlin – who spent 26 years with the department during two separate stints – for developing Shop With a Cop and several programs utilized in local schools, creating the UPPD's impeccable reputation throughout the county, and developing a schedule that keeps the community safe.

            "He has created a team of men and woman, and allowed that them to utilize their natural talents to go, and make the department something we can all be proud of," Lightcap said Monday.

            Devlin wrote that he is most proud of building a well-respected law enforcement organization that prides itself on respect and to work with the best group of officers and administrative assistant that truly cared for each other and the community they served.

            "One must earn respect before getting respect in return, and I believe the Upper Perk Police Department can be looked upon as how both law enforcement officers and community can come together for the same common goal," his email reads. "I have been extremely fortunate to have such great officers working for and with me. When you surround yourself with excellence, you look good, and I give my officers accolades every day for what they do and how they conduct themselves. They truly made my job a lot easier."  

            Initially, Devlin – hired by the UPPD on Jan. 7, 1991 – rose to the position of sergeant with the department during a 10-year stint before leaving in January of 2001 to take a position with the Lower Salford police department.  In his resignation letter, read aloud at the January 2001 meeting of the Upper Perk Police Commission, Devlin stated that he could no longer "endure the political turmoil we're subject to" and "refused to serve under political tyrants," according to a story of the meeting in the Jan. 25, 2001 edition of The Hearthstone Town and Country.

            Devlin served in Lower Salford for approximately one year before returning to the UPPD in March of 2002 to replace John Ferry, who resigned as the police chief during the summer of 2001.

            Of his time as police chief, Devlin wrote, "I believe, throughout the years, I was successful in regard to providing [Pennsburg and East Greenville] with a professional, well respected, disciplined and experienced law enforcement organization, due to the community support and the dedicated officers,"

            Council will discuss the process to hire a permanent chief during the March 6 public meeting, according to President Kris Kirkwood. Borough officials would likely complete the process in 60 to 90 days, according to Lightcap. However, she deferred any further comment until the issue is discussed by the members.





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