Sitoski named Upper Macungie police chief Officers honored for receiving DUI Top Gun Awards
By SARIT LASCHINSKY
Special to The Press
Upper Macungie supervisors have named Michael Sitoski the new chief of the Upper Macungie Township Police Department.
Sitoski had been filling the position on an interim basis since the retirement of Edgardo A. Colón on May 22 after eight years of service as the department’s first chief.
Township Manager Bob Ibach said Sitoski had been doing “a fine job” in his role as interim chief.
“And, prior to doing any external searches, we thought it would be worthwhile to look at a very good, viable candidate here in-house,” Ibach said, at the supervisors’ Oct. 1 meeting.
Ibach said Sitoski’s file and history with Upper Macungie and the former Berks-Lehigh Regional Police were thoroughly reviewed.
He added Sitoski’s qualifications, along with his personal recommendation of just knowing Sitoski and working with him, “everything came back positive.”
“He’s fully qualified for the job,” Ibach said. “I think he’s doing a very good job in the position now, and it’s my recommendation to the board we search no further.”
To applause from audience members and about a dozen law enforcement members, including from Upper Macungie and South Whitehall police departments, the three supervisors unanimously approved Sitoski’s appointment.
A native of Sugarloaf, Sitoski graduated from Hazleton Area High School and earned his police certification from Lackawanna Junior College Police Academy.
He served with the Weatherly and Beaver Meadows Borough police departments, Carbon County, and also served with the Freeland Borough and West Hazelton police departments, Luzerne County.
He joined the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police in 2001 and served as a patrolman, corporal, sergeant and acting interim chief before joining the Upper Macungie Township Police Department in 2012 as a patrol lieutenant.
Supervisors’ Chairman James Brunell said Sitoski was one of the four original members of the police department and played an integral role in creation of the department, which began service Dec. 31, 2012.
As per a long-standing law enforcement tradition, Sitoski’s wife, Michelle, and son, Jaxon, pinned on his police badge, a ceremony which only occurs after an officer’s graduation and being promoted.
Sitoski thanked board members for their kind words and support, and said he was proud to lead the men and women of the department.
“Thank you very much,” Sitoski said.
“I’m truly honored and humbled by this whole experience.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for Upper Macungie Township. A lot of great things have happened to me here.
“I was interviewed in this very room just about 20 years ago. I had promotional interviews in this very room.
“This is kind of a very surreal experience to have friends, family and colleagues here. It means the world to me.”
Brunell said the board was “truly grateful” for Sitoski’s willingness to step up and accept the permanent chief position.
“We couldn’t be happier,” he said.
In related business, the township also authorized Sitoski to advertise and authorize filling the vacant police lieutenant position, as Ibach noted the department would need a patrol supervisor.
In his monthly report, Sitoski said three officers - Sgt. Dathan Schlegel, Officer Philip Shedaker and Officer Drew Devery - were recently awarded the Pennsylvania DUI Association’s DUI Top Gun Award for their efforts in detecting and prosecuting impaired drivers.
He noted it was Schlegel’s fourth year and Shedaker’s third year receiving the award, and commended the officers for their efforts.
‘We’re pretty proud and excited about that,” Sitoski said, “They’re doing a phenomenal job out there with impaired driving.”
Shedaker and Devery, who were present at the meeting, received enthusiastic applause.
Additionally, Sitoski noted the traditional National Night Out community event would be changed due to the pandemic. He said in its place the police department would be doing tours of the township’s residential neighborhoods Oct. 24.
He said the tour route is still being finalized and more information and updates will be posted to the department’s Facebook page.