Elderton losing its top cop |

Elderton losing its top cop

Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Sgt. Michael Pearson pictured during the summer in Elderton. He will step down as the borough's police chief Friday.

Friday will be the last day of work in the borough for Elderton’s police chief.

Sgt. Mike Pearson is stepping down from the part-time post to spend more time with his wife, who has a serious illness, he said.

The Butler resident will keep his full-time position with the campus police at Butler County Community College.

“I know my wife’s happy I’m not going to be working two jobs anymore,” Pearson said. “I did dedicate a large portion of my life to Elderton. And now she’s pretty happy a big chunk of my time is going to be spent at home.”

A 25-year law enforcement veteran, Pearson worked in the Orlando, Fla., area before moving to Pennsylvania a decade ago so his wife, a Butler native, could be closer to her family. Pearson served as Elderton’s top cop for nearly six years, overseeing a department that had two to six part-time officers at different times. He worked 24 to 32 hours a week.

“It’s a great community. The people are great and treated me well,” he said. “I wish the borough the best in its future endeavors.”

Pearson will not be replaced, leaving Elderton with two part-time police officers in its department.

“We’re sort of scaling back a bit,” Mayor Larry Prugh said. “Everybody’s got tight budgets.”

Pearson said he has been working to prepare the borough’s remaining officers for his absence.

“I took an agency that barely had anything, and through writing grants and implementing certain programs, I was able to give them a structure the community could be proud of,” he said.

Pearson created a website for his police department, maintaining it and paying for its server, but that is one of the things he said the borough has decided to do without after he leaves.

He spearheaded programs like business and residence checks, bank escorts for business people and security system assessments. He said he was proud of seeing reductions in vandalism and traffic violations during his time as chief.

“I do hope they keep up those programs, so the community doesn’t feel like just because the chief left everything fell apart,” he said. “I hope they maintain that level of professional performance within the community.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315 or [email protected].

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