By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
FARRELL, Pa. -- Police Chief Joseph Timko is calling it quits after 35 years as a police officer.
The man who served as chief of the Farrell Police Department and its successor Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department for 16 years is retiring effective Oct. 1.
The Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission announced his resignation Tuesday.
His last day of work will be Aug. 16 and he will use up vacation days until Oct. 1, his last official day. The commission said Detective Sgt. Douglas Long will serve as acting chief after Aug. 16 until a new chief is named.
James DeCapua, commission chairman, said the job could be filled from within or the commission could hire someone from outside the department. One of the requirements is that candidates have a four-year college degree, although not necessarily a law enforcement degree, he said.
Timko, 55, joined the Farrell force after serving in the Marine Corps and worked his way up through the ranks to the post of chief. He held that for six years before Farrell and Wheatland joined to form the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department in 1992 and he has been chief of that department ever since.
West Middlesex joined the department in 1994.
That transition of three municipal police departments into a regional force was one of the highlights of his career, Timko said, noting, "It was a lot of hard work for everybody."
That merger of forces has also been his biggest source of frustration, he said, explaining the difficulty of trying to manage the department on extremely tight budgets.
During his years on the force, Timko has earned an associate's degree in police science and technology and a bachelor's degree in law enforcement administration, both from Youngstown State University.
He won't be sitting around in his retirement. Timko said he's already accepted a job with the federal Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pa., an agency that does background checks on prospective federal employees. He said he starts there in October.