Edgardo Colon, 45, chief of Upper Macungie Township's new police force, brings with him a varied background as a Marine, truck driver, foreman and state police trooper who rose through the ranks to commander. By answering a reporter’s questions, he shares a little more about himself with Patch readers.
Q. You live in Bethlehem but where have you studied and worked in the Valley?
A. I graduated from Liberty High School in 1984. I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 16 and served from 1984-1988. I have an endearing love for the Marine Corps and all men and women who serve in all branches of the military. I worked for a welding supply distributor (Blue Valley Welding, Allentown) as a truck driver delivering compressed gases and then worked as a platform foreman from the day I was discharged (from the Marine Corps) until the day before I entered the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Academy in 1991. As a PSP Commander, I attended and graduated from the Northwestern University - School of Police Staff & Command, 278th Class.
Q. Why would you want to go from a state police commander to a township police chief?
A. As a Law Enforcement Officer: Trooper, Investigator, Corporal (Patrol & Crime Unit Supervisor), Sergeant (Patrol & Crime Section Supervisor) and Station Commander of Two PSP installations (Trevose as a Sergeant & Fogelsville as a Lieutenant), I have always embraced the concept of service. Having worked with and near Upper Macungie, its residents and personnel closely over the years further enhanced my interest in continuing my law enforcement career with the township. The opportunity to create/build a police department from the ground floor seemed like an exciting, yet challenging venture. It was clear that township supervisors are very committed to residents and businesses. That also was an admirable feature for me personally.
Q. Describe your management style.
A. My management/leadership style has always been very businesslike. I utilize leadership principles I learned in the Marine Corps and make my best effort to lead by example by “knowing the way, going the way and showing the way”…Despite being in [Command] and [Chief] positions, I don’t expect for people under my supervision/command to do anything that I haven’t and/or wouldn’t do myself. I also expect for Troopers/Officers under my command to conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism. In short, I expect to be as accountable to the officers as I expect them to be to the department.
Q. How far are you in assembling your crew?
A. We are in the process of interviewing the officers from the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police Department who have applied to ensure they are suitable candidates for the Upper Macungie Township Police Department (UMTPD) and will be sending letters with offers of employment on or about Aug. 1, 2012.
Q. What kinds of crimes are the jurisdictions of state police rather than the township force?
A. The UMTPD (like the PSP) will be a full-service [accredited] police department and have jurisdiction for all crimes and offenses that occur within Upper Macungie Township.
Q. Should residents ever call either force directly? Or only 911? Explain.
A. Eventually there will be a non-emergency number (which will be communicated/distributed to all township residents) to call the police station directly; however for all [emergency] calls, residents should dial 911.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. I enjoy walking, running and spending time with my family and friends.
Q. Do you plan to be more or less visible in the community?
A. I expect for myself (and all officers of the UMTPD) to be highly visible, active, involved and available to all citizens living and/or traversing throughout Upper Macungie Township.
Q. Tell us something you think would surprise most folks, even some who know you.
A. Don’t really have an answer unfortunately. I’m a fairly straightforward person.
Q. What else would you want residents to know about the township police?
A. I want the residents of Upper Macungie Township to know that I am thankful for this opportunity. I am also thankful for the positive comments I have heard and the patience the community has had. Building the critical components of a professional police department takes time and careful effort. The management team and I have been working very hard to build and provide the best police product and service available. We are eager to connect with the residential communities and demonstrate that we are here to serve them. We also want to further study and deploy our resources in an efficient and effective manner to address the high volume of [Commuter, Employment & Commercial] traffic that traverses through the township and make the roadways as safe as possible. The official department slogan is: “Committed to Service”…