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Latrobe names veteran detective as new police chief

Tribune-Review - 10/10/2018

Oct. 10--A 24-year veteran of the Latrobe police force will serve as its new chief beginning Wednesday.

City council on Tuesday promoted John Sleasman from detective to chief.

Sleasman, 52, of Ligonier Township, advanced to the role of detective eight years ago, working on major crimes investigations. He also serves as a field coordinator for the Westmoreland County Drug Task Force.

"When this position came up, I jumped on it," Sleasman said of the chief post. He succeeds James Bumar, who retired Aug. 31 after 34 years of service with the Latrobe force, including more than eight heading the department.

Sleasman said one of his top priorities will be to bring the department's resources up to date. "We need to modernize a lot of things -- body cameras, in-car cameras and in-car computers."

He said some of the equipment has broken down but has not been replaced due to funding concerns. Likewise, he said an unmarked vehicle used by officers often is in disrepair and needs to be replaced. He suggested applying for grants to help finance new equipment.

Sleasman said he'd also like his 13 full-time officers to have updated training for such issues as school shootings.

Mayor Rosie Wolford and Councilman Jack Murtha said Sleasman was the best of four finalists for the job in part because of his knowledge of the city.

"His interview was incredibly impressive." Wolford said. "He was extremely well prepared."

"He's a proven leader in the military and the police force," Murtha said.

Sleasman served in the Army and Army National Guard for 21 years, retiring in 2004 as a sergeant first class. He served as a tank crewman and was deployed to the European Theater following 9/11.

Wolford declined Tuesday to comment on Sleasman's new employment agreement, noting it had yet to be signed.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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(c)2018 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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