MERCER COUNTY Regional officers move up in rank

Promoting Riley Smoot from sergeant to chief created some ranking-officer vacancies.
FARRELL, Pa. -- The Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission, acting on recommendations from its new chief, Riley Smoot, promoted three officers and gave a fourth a lateral transfer.
Smoot, who took over as chief Jan. 6, suggested Tuesday that Sgt. Dan Oster, with the force since November 1974, replace him as the conflict resolution specialist in the Farrell Area School District.
The school district secures grants to pay for that position, Smoot said. It's an eight-hour-a-day job while school is in session, and Oster will deal with regular police work during the summer months, he said.
Oster will essentially be serving as a community resource officer without that specific title, Smoot said, adding that he will have to complete conflict resolution, peer mediation and grant-writing courses.
The latter will enable him to write grants not only for his own position but for projects in the police department.
The move is a lateral transfer for Oster, Smoot said.
Smoot will retain his position as the department's DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer.
Moving Oster into the schools creates a vacancy in the sergeant ranks, said James DeCapua, commission chairman.
Smoot recommended that Cpl. Andy Thomas, a member of the department since September 1993, fill that post, and the commission agreed. Thomas' salary will rise to $37,734, the same pay rate earned by Oster.
Smoot recommended that two corporal vacancies be filled by Charles Rubano, an officer on the force since January 1996, and Ed Lisac Jr., a member of the force since November 1998.
The commission approved those promotions as well.
Rubano will earn $35,704, and Lisac, $34,189, based on longevity.

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