Steve Hillias looks forward to new role as Perkasie police chief

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Perkasie Borough Chief of Police Steve Hillias 

PERKASIE — Police Chief Steven Hillias died suddenly on June 16, Perkasie Borough Police Department announced on its Facebook page, expressing "great sadness and regret" in sharing the news, which was also posted on the Perkasie Borough website. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time," the department said.

The cause of death is still to be determined by the Lehigh County Coroner's office, Detective Sgt. Russ Closs said the night of June 17.

"It appears to be a serious medical cause of some type, but we don't know what it was," Closs said. 

Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date, the department said. 

Within half a day of the announcement, more than 100 people commented on the Facebook posting, expressing their condolences and appreciation of Hillias' work.

"We're devastated," Closs said. "He was too young to have something like this happen." Hillias was 49.  

Hillias, who at that time had been an officer with the Perkasie department for 17 years, was named chief in December of 2013, according to a News-Herald article at the time. 

Prior to being named chief, he had been interim chief for the past year and a sergeant in the department for the previous 10 years, the article said.

Hillias succeeded former Chief Joseph Gura following Gura's retirement.  

Hillias attended the FBI National Academy in 2007 and received a master's degree in criminal justice in 2010, the article said. 

At the time, Hillias said the year as interim chief helped prepare him for the chief's job. 

"Every day has been very interesting and challenging at the same time, which I like," he said. "I have been with Perkasie for 17 years and since I started, no two days were ever the same. I don't like for work to be stagnant and routine; that's part of why I was initially drawn to law enforcement."

His goals, he said, included increased training for officers to help people going through mental health crises. 

"I believe a well-trained police department is a well-disciplined police department," he said. "I am dedicated to properly training the department on an ongoing basis." 

Hillias said the department wants to help and serve the public.

"We need to partner with residents of Perkasie — when they see some suspicious activity, we need them to call and report it to us so we can address the problems," Hillias said.

During Hillias' time as chief, he added body cameras and a police dog, Closs said. 

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