Caln Board of Commissioners names new police chief

Joseph Elias, major in the state police department, returns to Chester County

By Kyle CarrozzaStaff Writer, The Times


Joseph Elias was appointed Caln Police Chief Thursday night. A resident of Lititz, Elias returns to Chester County after starting his career here 28 years ago.

CALN – The Township Board of Commissioners named Joseph Elias the new Chief of Police at its meeting Thursday night.

Elias, currently a major for the state police and Executive Director of the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission, will start as chief on April 15. Now a resident of Lititz, he started his 28-year career in Avondale and looks forward to returning to Chester County.

“I love Chester County. I love the responsibilities I had here early on in my career,” said Elias. “This is the only job I’ve applied for in 28 years.”

Elias said that, as with any job, there will be a learning curve to the position, and he wants to examine current procedures before making any changes. However, he knows that one of his focuses will be on predicting and preventing crime.

“Through advances in technology and better resources, we are better at solving but not at predicting crime. We should be better at preparing people for or preventing crime; it’s the responsibility of the police department and community,” he said.

The Penn State and FBI National Academy graduate said that his experience as Director of the Domestic Security for the state police saw him working with officers in schools, which will help him deal with the issue of potential gun violence.

“It’s our responsibility as parents and law enforcement to work together,” he said.

Elias will be sworn in publicly at the April 25 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The appointment meant that acting Chief Jeffrey Nash gave his final address to the board Thursday night.

“The level of professionalism and work these guys [the township’s officers] do day in and day out—I’m in awe,” said Nash.

Nash stepped in as acting chief when former Chief Brian Byerly was fired last September. The board thanked him for stepping in during a tough time, and Nash said that he was glad to have done so.

“It’s a heck of a team we’ve got here. I’m proud to work here,” he said.

In another effort to improve the community, the Board of Commissioners heard a presentation from Waste Management on a program called Recyclebank. The program, which the township is considering implementing, will allow residents to earn coupons to various corporations and local businesses based on how much they recycle.

According to Bob Milligan, the Waste Management Vice President of the Northeast Region, residents of places that use the program earn an average of $165 of discounts per year. Residents sign up to Waste Management’s website and earn points based on how much weight their area has recycled. Those points can be redeemed at various restaurants, grocery stores, and ticket agencies. By partnering with local businesses, the board hopes the program will hope Caln’s economy as well.

“My dad lives in Philly [where the program is in use], and it’s made him recycle more,” said Board President Vincent Rose.

In order to increase those local businesses, the board held a public hearing of an ordinance to create tax exemptions for commercial areas in Thorndale. The exemptions will apply to potential business owners who want to take over one of the vacant structures along Lincoln Highway, many of which fail to meet city codes.

“The district has been changing the past decade,” said Rose. “This initiative will provide long-term tax and employment incentive.”

The board also looked to address other longstanding problems in the township. Refinancing a bond has freed up money that the board wants to use on various expenses, including repairs to various municipal buildings, new traffic lights, and modifying roads.

One of the most noticeable of the proposed changes would be adding a turning lane on route 340 where it intersects with GO Carlson Boulevard.

The board, however, has thus far only agreed to refinance the bond and did not finalize plans for what would happen with the money. A few board members voiced concern that, like previous projects, these plans would fall victim to endless discussion and no action.

“We’ve been sitting here listening to this for years, and nothing has been happening,” agreed one resident.

Commissioner Jim Kruse, who acknowledged that too much discussion has led to a lack of action in recent years, also said that the board should be careful about overspending.

“There’s nothing more that I would like than to have Humpton paved and you could skate down it and eat off it, but the money has to come from somewhere,” he responded.

Though estimates and other finances still have to be considered, by the end of the discussion, had a loose agreement where the money would be spent, and they hope to have a more tangible plan in the next few weeks.

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One Comment

  1. Leo Sinclair says:

    Could someone tell us if Caln Township Board of Commissioners used a Search firm to find Major Joseph Elias? And if so could you tell us who they used? Thank you

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