DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE OF CHESTER COUNTY
April 28, 2006“I am sorry to hear that Coatesville Police Chief Dominic Bellizzie will be leaving his position to become Chief of Police in Solebury Township, Bucks County. Solebury Township’s gain is Chester County’s loss.Chief Bellizzie did an excellent job in what is probably the most difficult law enforcement position in Chester County. The police department in Coatesville is understaffed and overworked, and has been for many years. Despite those challenges, Chief Bellizzie and his officers have made significant progress in improving the quality of life in the city since his appointment. I have great respect for the accomplishments of the Chief and the officers he leads, and was looking forward to continued progress as Coatesville implemented an unprecedented redevelopment plan.Although I have not had a chance to speak to Chief Bellizzie about this recently, my impression from prior conversations was that the constant rumors and speculation in the media that his firing was imminent, and the lack of support from Council for the chief and the department was a factor in his decision to seek another position. In my opinion, Chief Bellizzie had opportunities to move to what most people would consider more attractive positions on many occasions, but he liked the challenge his position presented, and genuinely cared for the people he served. However, it is extremely frustrating and difficult to be effective in a situation where a chief does not know if he has the confidence of his governing body, and does not know if he will receive the resources and autonomy he needs to do his job correctly.I think that the resignation of Chief Bellizzie will have a very bad impact on morale in the police department. The chief was a respected leader both within the department and elsewhere. I will not be surprised if the chief’s resignation influences other officers to seek employment elsewhere.Coatesville has an excellent police department, but the loss of Chief Bellizzie will be a setback, and it will take time to recover. While there are qualified candidates to succeed the chief within the department, their promotion will not immediately replace the skills and experience Chief Bellizzie takes with him. If a chief is hired from outside, there will be an adjustment period. I am concerned, too, that it will be difficult to attract candidates of Chief Bellizzie’s caliber to a position with so many challenges at a time of political transition.Concerns notwithstanding, it is time to move on. It is my hope that Coatesville City Council will take the steps necessary to ensure that they find the best-qualified candidate for chief…”More at:
Chester County Reporter
Story filed 10 January 06
Coatesville residents turnout to support Krack, Bellizzie
By Allen Davis
9 a.m., 10 Jan 06
Coatesville residents crowded into City Hall last night wanting to know if there was truth to reports that City Manager Jean Krack and Police Chief Dominic Bellizzie are to be replaced in the near future.
"I don't respond to rumors," council President Kareem Johnson said. Johnson would comment only that last night was the first time he had heard council was considering creating a new superintendent of safety position that would oversee the police.
Lt. Matt Gordon specifically asked whether rumors were true that Richard Legree, a constable and former Valley police officer, was to be named superintendent of safety.
"This is the first time I heard that," Johnson responded.
Council members Marty Eggleston and Ed Simpson both said last night they had no problem showing public support for both Krack and Bellizzie.
Fifteen off-duty police officers, all in uniform, turned out last night to show their support for Bellizzie whom has been credited with ridding the streets of open-air drug markets and professionalizing the 32-man department.
Bellizzie was also supported by the Coatesville NAACP. "Chief Bellizzie is my buddy. I don't want anybody messing with him," said Louise Hopkins, president of the Coatesville NAACP. Bellizzie, who is white, is the first city police chief to meet regularly with the NAACP over such issues as profiling.
"Without Jean Krack and his people (staff), you're going to set the city back five years," said Elwood Dixon, a Caln resident but who owns property in Coatesville.
Ricky Saha urged the new council members to work with Krack and his staff. "I called Krack and said I was going to do anything I could to keep him and others on," said Saha.
Ricky Saha is the son of Dick Saha who waged a six-year legal and political battle to force the city to halt the city from using its eminent domain powers to take his Valley Township farm for a golf course.
Johnson said all new council members are 100 percent for the city's revitalization and he looked forward to working with the three council members remaining from last year's council. ". . . but we're going to move forward," he said.
Added council Vice President Robin Scott: "There is going to be change . . . and some people are scared of change."
Johnson, Scott, Patsy Ray and Kurt Schenk were all elected in November. The four defeated incumbents David Griffith, Bill Chertok, Carmen Green and David DeSimone.
Last night Schenk implored residents to give the new council members a chance.
"Before you listen to rumors, give us a call . . . Please give us a chance," he said.
You can write to Allen Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org