When Edgardo A. Colón retires from the Pennsylvania State Police on Aug. 17 to take a new job, he will extend his commute by about 50 feet.
Colon, who is station commander at Troop M in Foglesville, works next door to the Upper Macungie Township building, where he signed on Thursday night to become police chief of the township's own department.
Upper Macungie doesn't have it's own force yet, but has voted to leave the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police. The township plans to have a new police department in place by Jan. 1, 2013.
Starting Aug. 20, Colon, 45, of Bethlehem will work as a consultant with the township as it makes the transition from being part of the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police Department to developing its own force.
He will receive $85,000 a year.
Supervisor Chairman Edward Earley said Colón came with great recommendations, including from Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.
"After receiving his impeccable resume and outstanding letters of recommendation and comparing them to other resumes we received, we felt that he was the best fit for Upper Macungie Township," said Earley, reading from a prepared statement.
The supervisors had worked closely with Colón during the renovation of the township-owned state police barracks. Colón, who attended the meeting with his wife Elizabeth and their children, said he looks forward to building the best possible police force and providing outstanding service to the township.
"Throughout my career as a trooper, throughout the other ranks and coming up I've always had an interest in connecting and interracting with the community," Colón said. "And that's what I plan to do in Upper Macungie Township."
The supervisors also unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday night creating the police department. They had voted last month to leave the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police department that they currently share with Topton and Lyons boroughs and Maxatawny Township, all in Berks County. Upper Macungie pays about 76 percent of the cost of the Berks-Lehigh department but only gets a 25 percent voting interest, according to township officials.
Colón is a Marine Corps veteran who graduated from the State Police Academy in 1991. During his career with troops in Avondale, Lehighton, Philadelphia, Bethlehem and Fogelsville, he served in various capacities, including as a criminal investigator, patrol supervisor and crime unit supervisor. He was promoted through the ranks, taking over as station commander of Troop M Fogelsville in April 2010.
He has also served on the Negotiation Unit of the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), which is quick response unit for critical incidents.
"His experience, command style, strong work ethic and compassion as a law enforcement officer has been proven and tested," Earley said. "We believe that his fluency in Spanish is an asset to his law enforcement role and brings diversity to our township."