SOUDERTON — Souderton Borough Police Department has a new top cop.
Brian Newhall was sworn in as the new police chief at Souderton Borough Council's Jan. 4 meeting after the council unanimously approved his appointment, effective Jan. 11, and his employment agreement.
He replaces Chief James Leary, who retired after a 46-year career as a police officer, including the past decade as Souderton's chief.
"The process by which we have gotten to this point was very, very thorough," council President Brian Goshow said. "At the end of the day, the best candidate was selected by borough council."
Newhall, a lifelong Montgomery County resident, was a member of the Upper Moreland Township Police Department for 20 years, retiring as a sergeant, and has been chief of the Valley Township department in Chester County for the past two years, he said outside the meeting room following the swearing in, which was witnessed by several past and present local police officers.
Newhall said he is also a former emergency management coordinator in Upper Moreland and has been a volunteer firefighter for 31 years and an emergency medical technician for 25 years.
He said he lives in the area and is familiar with and has friends and family in the Souderton area.
"I've always wanted to work in a small town," he said. "Not that Souderton's small, but it's got that small town community feel that some big townships don't have."
Council member Julie Munden, who chaired the committee formed for the search for the new police chief, said following the meeting that Newhall was picked from 55 applicants, which were narrowed down to 15, then 6, then three before a final decision was made.
Along with meeting all the criteria for the job, he already has experience as a police chief, she said.
"He's very steady, but he has command," Munden said.
"We were impressed with everything," she said, " ... his resume and just his personality. Personality was a big part of it."
Consulting firm SafeCity Solutions LLC was hired by the borough to help with the search for the new chief, she said.
The other members of the search committee were council members Daryl Littlefield and Donna Rogers and Mayor John Reynolds, Munden said.
Newhall's starting salary is $110,000 per year, Munden said.
He is being hired under a five-year contract, Borough Manager Mike Coll said.
"He wants to be here. He wants longevity. He wants to retire here," Munden said.
In other matters at the meeting:
• Eugene Moyer was reappointed to the Souderton Zoning Hearing Board for a three-year term through Dec. 31, 2023.
• Michael Moffitt was reappointed to the Civil Service Commission for a six-year term through Dec. 31, 2026.
• Daniel Houser was reappointed to serve as chairman of the Vacancy Board for the 2021 calendar year.