As a child, Police Chief Joe Gleason looked forward to the parade every year, not for the floats or bands, but to see his heroes pass by. Sitting on the front porch of his Havertown home, he waits for the special wave from his heroes in blue. “As a kid, I thought that they walked on water,” he remembers, referring to the uniform-clad officers. Ever since he was six years old, Chief Gleason knew that being a police officer was what he was put on this earth to do.
Born in Philadelphia but raised in Havertown, Chief Gleason is very familiar with the Delaware County area. In 1980, Chief Gleason decided to follow his dreams and attend the Police Academy. While in the academy, he was hired as a part time officer in Parkside, Pennsylvania and was able to attend the academy part time as well. In 1981, he began his career with the West Goshen Police force and in 2011 was promoted to Police Chief.
“I have been working my dream job for the past 38 years,” remarks Chief Gleason. Chief Gleason attributes his passion for the police force to his parents. Showing strong respect for law enforcement and their duties, his mother and father inspired his admiration for the officers he now calls his comrades.
Chief Gleason speaks of his police staff in West Goshen with pride and admiration . “I work with the most professional group of people that I have ever worked with,” he says. The police force is comprised of many different departments – administration, clerical, patrol, detectives, traffic, community relations and more – which all work together to keep the community safe. Officers on street patrol stay vigilant to ensure things are the way they should be. In addition to responding to calls, officers keep an eye out for problems they can proactively solve. Having the opportunity to assist people in any given moment is one of Chief Gleason’s favorite parts of the job. “You get to help people, and most of the time people [don’t] call police officers because they have something good happening. We are put on this earth to do good for others.”
With this job comes some misunderstanding of the police force. It’s hard to measure the success of crime prevention, and the West Goshen Police Force does an immaculate job in this area. When all is well, it’s difficult to actually see the police department doing their job unless they are called to solve an issue or a crime.
“People move into their areas and one of the things they look at is safety, and that is a direct reflection of the police department. If you spend money on us and we are quiet, it is money well spent,” remarks Chief Gleason. With the support of his incredible police staff, Chief Gleason aims to keep the community as safe as possible.
In order to do this, Chief Gleason encourages residents to contact the police. “We are here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our door is always open and we would love for you to get to know us…we welcome that,” he explains. Many residents are concerned about contacting the police department because they don’t want to bother officers if something is “not important”, but Chief Gleason encourages residents to let the police force make that decision. He explains, “We have a great department. We are a full service, all-encompassing police department and we are here for all that you need.”
Another one of Chief Gleason’s favorite parts of the job is interacting with the people of West Goshen and getting to know the neighborhoods and families. It seems that Chief Gleason’s life has come full circle from the days of the Police Force influencing his lifelong dream as a child. “If you can make a positive influence on kids this day and age, it truly makes a difference.”