LEHIGH TOWNSHIP-- In the six years Kevin Froese has been police chief in the Wayne County community, he never expected to see a mug shot of an officer he personally hired. Friday, it happened.
Rookie Matthew Spink was arrested in Nazareth, along with his brother, accused of breaking into several apartments.
Police say when they confronted Spink, he claimed to be working undercover for Lehigh Township.
The chief was stunned.
"It's been a nightmare. It's been embarrassing. It has hurt our department. It's impugned our integrity," laments Froese.
He tells Newswatch 16 that when the truck driver applied for the police job, he had a clean background check and glowing references.
"He was punctual. He was a quick learner. He was very respectful and courteous to the people he dealt with," said Froese. "He had all the signs of a good officer. I was flabbergasted when I got the call."
When asked if anything could have been done differently, Froese said, "I wish I could say there was more that I think I could do."
Since the news of the arrest, people who live in the Gouldsboro area have been expressing their disappointment.
"It's terrible," said Connie Russo of Lehigh Township.
Others say the department has built up goodwill over the years.
"I was a girl scout for thirteen years, and we have met with them. They have done programs with us," added Shanice Brandon of Lehigh Township. "They have been nothing but kind to us."
Froese points out that Spink is innocent until proven guilty.
Spink is currently suspended without pay, pending the conclusion of the case.