Retired Heidelberg chief honored by room dedication
When Mayor Ken LaSota of Heidelberg decided the borough’s police evidence room should be named in honor of retired Chief James McIntyre, he first needed to receive an important seal of approval — from McIntyre’s wife, Virginia.
“I wanted to make sure Jim would be good with this,” LaSota said. “So, she was excited and I worked with her. I tried to keep it a secret from Jim.”
The plaque was placed on the door to the evidence room during borough council’s Oct. 21 meeting and LaSota presented McIntyre, 74, with a proclamation recognizing his 37 years of service.
“Any time you’re honored by the people you worked with and served, it’s an honor,” McIntyre said.
The police evidence room stores items, including weapons, drugs, lab reports and department time sheets, from past and current cases. Some items are kept as long as possible in case of a retrial or other unforeseen circumstances.
A lifelong resident of Heidelberg, McIntyre served as a patrolman from 1968 to 1977 and as chief from 1977 to 2005. He also served in the U.S. Army, Heidelberg Volunteer Fire Department and as emergency management coordinator and elected constable.
As police chief, McIntyre remembers working 24-hour shifts and taking calls from his house before the borough purchased portable radios. He would cover other officers’ shifts, clean sanitary sewers and work on the borough’s garbage truck.
He knew the location every manhole on borough streets in the event they were covered up by road paving mistakes.
McIntyre said he’s proud of witnessing young people in the borough grow older and become successful.
LaSota, 59, knew McIntyre as a teenager growing up in Heidelberg and the two later became colleagues after he was elected mayor 16 years ago.
“It’s not just that Jim’s been the chief of police for decades, he also is just a good neighbor in the borough of Heidelberg. Everyone knows him. Everyone has always had good things to say about Chief McIntyre.”
LaSota recalls a rainstorm that swept through Heidelberg a few years ago.
“Trees were falling all over Grant Street and there’s Jim out there with a chainsaw cutting up people’s fallen trees. He’s been a good neighbor over the years.”
LaSota recalls when McIntyre would “chase me around Heidelberg” as a teenager.
“Fortunately, I was faster in those days. I’m thinking now, maybe I wasn’t faster. He just realized there was something about me to let me get away, thinking maybe I could improve myself. He did have a lot of influence on people growing up in this town.”
The mayor said McIntyre set a standard for Heidelberg’s police officers.
“Hopefully, 37 years from now when new officers are coming through Heidelberg, they’ll see that and know someone can … have an impact on Heidelberg.”
David Mayernik Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.