Controversy Brewing Over Pa. Chief's Firing

Residents and business owners in Jefferson County say they were stunned after learning that a recently hired police chief was fired with no warning.


REYNOLDSVILLE, Pa. --

Residents and business owners in Jefferson County told WJAC-TV that they were stunned after learning that a recently hired police chief was fired with no warning.

Mayor Peach Caltagarone said that Reynoldsville council members voted to terminate Chief John McAvoy’s position, effective on Friday morning.

“Four members out of the seven fired our chief. The way our chief spoke to our council president is why he fired him,” said Caltagarone. “This comes from our council president; he wants the police department out of Reynoldsville by the first of the year.”

Council President Russ Whelpley declined to comment on the council vote when contacted by telephone on Friday.

Caltagraone said that only selected council members were alerted of the vote and that no public meeting was held.

Reynoldsville resident Julie Popson told WJAC-TV that she’s worried about the response time from neighboring Sandy Township or state troopers during an emergency if the department is downsized or eliminated.

“We’re a little community. Things happen, and we need somebody local and somebody right here in our community to stay with us,” said Popson. “I just can’t believe they want to do this.”

Caltagarone told WJAC-TV that McAvoy is still on duty, against the council’s termination order.

“How can the citizens of this borough feel safe when we have no Police Department? We had an awesome Police Department, and now, they’re destroying it,” said Caltagarone. “The police committee wants to keep him and so do I. I’m sure the people of Reynoldsville want to keep him. He’s going to stay on duty; they may not pay him. I don’t know what the big rush was, firing him so quick.”

Controversy Brewing Over Police Chief's Termination

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