NEW BETHLEHEM – After more than 14 years as New Bethlehem’s chief of police, Scott Ryan announced recently that he will no longer be head of the regional police force.
Ryan said he turned in his resignation after accepting a job in corporate security in the Pittsburgh area. He declined to say where he will be working, only that it was an offer he could not refuse.
Nevertheless, Ryan said that leaving the local police force was one of the hardest decisions he’s ever had to make.
“It wasn’t an easy choice,” he said. “It took me a long time to make that decision. I struggled with it.”
A Kittanning area native, Ryan started working in New Bethlehem under former police chief Jim Merwin, and moved up to chief on Jan. 1, 2004 upon Merwin’s retirement.
In those years in New Bethlehem, Ryan said the police force has grown its regional footprint, and is now known as the Southern Clarion County Regional Police Department. The department not only serves New Bethlehem Borough, but has contracts with the boroughs of South Bethlehem, Hawthorn, Rimersburg, Sligo and East Brady, as well as Mahoning Township, Redbank Township (Clarion County) and Redbank Township (Armstrong County). The police force also works with Redbank Valley and Union school districts, and the Mahoning Lake Dam facility operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Although Ryan’s resignation isn’t effective until Sept. 17, he said he is using his vacation time now, while undergoing training for his new position.
And even though the job is closer to Pittsburgh than New Bethlehem, he said he and his family will continue to make the Redbank Valley their home.
“I love this town — I’ve made it my home,” he said.
He also said that he will continue to advise the local police department if needed, and will continue working some part-time shifts for the local force, possibly at sporting events and other similar details.
With Ryan leaving the chief role, New Bethlehem officials recently promoted Sgt. Nicole Peck to the title of officer in charge, and promoted Greg Bowser to a full-time position. The department operates with three full-time officers (including Ryan) and currently three part-time officers.
“New Bethlehem Police Chief Scott Ryan is still employed by the borough at this time,” the borough council said in a statement issued last week. “He has accepted a new position to become effective later for which the council wishes him much success.
“In the interim, council has named Officer Nicole Peck as officer in charge and has promoted a part-time officer to full-time to maintain coverage,” the council continued. “Council is conducting a thorough review of the department and intends to search for a qualified chief of police. A job description and request for applications will be posted in the near future.”