With the upcoming departure of State College police Chief Tom King, the borough has been working for several months to find a replacement.
Borough Manager Tom Fountaine announced Monday that the borough has made its decision, choosing to appoint Assistant Chief John Gardner to the State College Police Department’s top position.
The process to find a new chief began in March, Fountaine said, and was augmented by input from fellow department officers and employees, chiefs and officers of fellow departments, surrounding township managers, Penn State and the community.
“I am grateful for their time and for their thoughtful observations about all of the candidates,” Fountaine said. “I’m confident this process has been successful in large part because of the assistance of these individuals.”
The decision came down to three candidates, he said, all of who demonstrated the ability to lead the department and serve the community.
Searching for the next chief, Fountaine said, the borough identified several attributes and core competencies it was seeking in its next chief, including a commitment to diversity and community-oriented policing, fair standards for officers and department employees and a commitment to ethical conduct and integrity.
“I believe (Gardner) has demonstrated all of these,” he said.
Gardner has been a member of the State College police since 1990, Fountaine said, and has been serving as assistant chief for the past three years. In addition to his leadership in the department, Gardner also serves the community as a youth basketball and baseball coach, volunteers for the Special Olympics and has participated in the United Way campaign.
Gardner’s appointment as chief will take effect Sept. 1, Fountaine said. He will be formally introduced at a media conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the borough building and will be formally sworn in during the next borough council meeting Aug. 15.