In 1 of last official acts, Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell swears in police command staff

Written by on December 29, 2021

In 1 of last official acts, Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell swears in police command staff

By WLVR Staff
December 29, 2021

Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell on Wednesday swore in Police Chief Charles Roca and Assistant Chiefs Michael Becker and James Gress — one of the mayor’s last official acts as his tenure comes to a close.

A former councilman, O’Connell has served as mayor since early in 2018 when he was appointed following the resignation and conviction of former mayor Ed Pawlowski on federal corruption charges.

Through a spokesman, O’Connell declined a WLVR interview request but presided Wednesday over the swearing-in ceremony at city council chambers.

Roca’s nomination was confirmed by city council in September. Becker and Gress were promoted from captain to assistant chief earlier this month.

“Roca will be an outstanding chief,” O’Connell said. “He is well respected by the rank-and-file of the department and by the members of the community. He has great plans for the department, and I am very confident that he will see them through.”

Roca joined the force in 2002 and has been interim chief since June. Before that he was assistant chief for operations.

Becker has been with the Allentown Police Department for more than 15 years and has been a captain since 2019. Gress joined the force in 2002 and has served as captain since 2020.

Mayor-elect Matt Tuerk, who has pledged his support for the new police leadership, will be sworn in during a ceremony Monday, Jan. 3.

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