BLOOMSBURG — The Bloomsburg Police Department officially has a new chief and he is no stranger to the town. Roger Van Loan had been the department’s acting chief since June, when Chief Leo Sokoloski retired.
“I’ve been a sergeant for 11 years. I started with the department as a patrolman in 1994 and kind of worked my way up through the ranks,” Van Loan said.
Bloomsburg Mayor Carey Howell says town council appointed Van Loan police chief after interviewing five other candidates from all over the country.
“Wound up choosing our own fellow. We did our due diligence by going outside and reviewing the applicants and finding out we had the best one downstairs,” Howell said.
Chief Van Loan says his first priority is getting the department back up to a full staff of 15. Right now there are 12 officers.
Chief Van Loan says with the population increase here at Bloomsburg University, and more students moving into the downtown, he feels there is a need to expand the police department.
“As the demand increases, we’re going to have to meet that need and the only way we’re going to be able to do that is by hiring a few more people,” Van Loan said.
One person who is happy Van Loan got the job is Howard Macauley of nearby Scott Township. He says van loan helped him a few years ago when his wife, who had dementia, got lost in Bloomsburg.
“If he shows the kind of concern and interest in folks that he showed to me, then there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a great chief of police,” Macauley said.
Chief Van Loan says he also wants to work with Bloomsburg University to increase alcohol education before the annual Block Party Weekend in April.