The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 14, 2013

Nanty Glo council names new top cop

Justin Dennis

NANTY GLO — The police force in Nanty Glo Borough is under new command after Thursday’s special Borough Council meeting. Council members accepted the resignation of Officer-in-Charge Rich Miller.

Recently changed pension stipulations allowed the head man to retire early, Councilman Ken Smith said.

Officer Mike Oyaski, who was hired on as a captain with the Nanty Glo police force in March 2003, was notified of his appointment to the post via text following the Thursday meeting.

“I think it would be fair to say that I have more experience than a majority of the officers that I work with,” Oyaski said. “My training and education would also set me apart.”

His  law enforcement career began in January 1992 after he graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice.

From 1993 until 2000, he worked with the Huntingdon County Sheriff’s Office and served as sergeant for five of those years. He’s also spent time in Cambria Township and nearly two decades with the force in Ebensburg, where he grew up.

Oyaski was also a former emergency medical technician and D.A.R.E. officer. He said that when he applied to fill the captain position with Nanty Glo, his reputation preceded him.

“My experience that I had at the time had a lot to do with that ... I effectively came in at rank,” he said.

The Nanty Glo supervisors looked into his background through local officials who knew his name and Huntingdon County troopers he’d worked with.

“Apparently, I was recommended,” Oyaski said.

Former Officer Miller doesn’t meet the standard retirement age for officers, but that no longer matters. Borough Secretary Melissa Weekes said changes to the pension requirements allow officers to retire after meeting either their 20-year service requirement or the age requirement.

“It was a pleasure working with (Miller),” Oyaski said.

Oyaski seemed struck to be put on the spot about how he’ll tackle his new duties, but said he’ll try to maintain at least one basic rule: “I don’t know that there’s any one thing (to focus on) when you’re running a department in a small community,” he said “but you have to be able to establish a good relationship with the community.”

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