Lehigh Valley

Allentown police chief to become county detective

Joseph Hanna has been chief since September

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown Police Chief Joseph N. Hanna will join the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office as a county detective on Dec. 23, following his retirement from the city police department.

Hanna, 57, was named chief on Sept. 6  by Mayor Ed Pawlowski, when Police Chief Roger MacLean retired.

MacLean also took a county law enforcement job immediately after retiring as the city's police chief. He was hired as chief investigator of the Lehigh County Regional Intelligence and Investigation Center in Allentown.

Lehigh County District Attorney James B. Martin said Hanna had agreed to the position of county detective earlier this year, but his start date was postponed so Hanna could succeed MacLean as chief and so there would be an orderly transition between MacLean's retirement and the hiring of the new police chief, Joel F. Fitzgerald, Sr.

Fitzgerald will take over as chief on Dec. 20. The Philadelphia native has been the police chief in Missouri City, Tex., since April 2009. Before that, he worked in the Philadelphia police department for almost 18 years.

"Because of the departure of Roger MacLean, I did not want to leave the Allentown police department in a position of having a drastic loss of leadership in a short time," said Martin in a news release.

Hanna's retirement date from the city police department could be no later than Dec. 26, under terms of a deferred retirement plan.

"I am pleased that someone of Joe Hanna's caliber has agreed to work as a county detective and will continue to serve the residents of Lehigh County as well as he served the citizens of Allentown for 34 years," said Martin.

Hanna said the new job will allow him to work in investigations, one of the areas of policing he finds most fulfilling.

Hanna expressed gratitude to all the professionals in law enforcement  he has worked with for more than three decades and members of the public with whom he had worked to develop community policing.

"The five years I served as the lieutenant in charge of the Community Policing and Crime Prevention Unit gave me an opportunity to develop problem-solving initiatives that enhanced the service to the public and increased the public's confidence in our department," Hanna said. "Our community police officers are a caring, compassionate group of professionals who got to know the people in the neighborhoods they served."

He said he is proud of the homicide investigations on which he has worked and he applauded the criminal investigators whom he supervised.

Throughout his career, Hanna said, he strived to emulate his late uncle, former Allentown Assistant Chief Charles "Chink" Charles, and to continue Charles' legacy of public service.

Hanna began his career in law enforcement with the Allentown police department in 1979.

He held positions as patrol officer in the traffic and patrol divisions and served as a field training officer. He served as detective sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division for nine years and held positions of investigator and acting lieutenant supervisor.

Hanna served as the commanding officer of the Community Police and Crime Prevention Unit, where he managed and supervised community-oriented policing initiatives in the city. He has been a consultant with the Pennsylvania Regional Community Policing Institute under the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2001, he was promoted to captain of the Patrol Division. He held the position of commander of the Criminal Investigations and Vice and Intelligence Division and was in charge of Police Service Area III, which encompasses the South Side of Allentown.

He was commander of the department's Hostage Negotiation Unit and is a past member of the Internal Affairs Unit.

In January 2006, Hanna was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police (Operations) and was in charge of overseeing all departmental operations of sworn personnel.

Hanna has served as the Director of Training at the Allentown Police Academy since 2011.

He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Moravian College. He graduated in 2002 from the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and graduated in 1993 from the U.S. Department of Justice FBI National Academy.

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