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District Hires State Trooper As 1st Police Chief

Local native, CalU grad also serves as youth coach

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
December 06, 2019
Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

A Pennsylvania state trooper has been named the first chief of McKeesport Area School District’s new police force.

Bob Boyle of White Oak, currently assigned to the Gibsonia barracks, will start in January 2020. An official start date is pending his formal retirement from the state police, Boyle said.

At the school board’s reorganizational meeting on Wednesday, school directors voted 8-1 to hire Boyle. School Director David Donato cast the only dissenting vote.

The chief’s job has been budgeted at $55,000 per year. The school district also will be advertising for three police officers at $25 per hour, School Board President Joe Lopretto said.

Those jobs will be advertised as early as next week, School Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. said.

The district has previously used unarmed security guards as well as a City of McKeesport police officer, and security guards will continue to be used for some functions, Lopretto said.

Although the police officers will be providing additional security for the district, Lopretto said the district views having police officers on-campus as another resource for students, teachers and staff, not as a disciplinary tool.

“It’s not just for the security factor — there’s an educational factor,” he said. “We’re not bringing police into our schools because we’ve had a problem with our kids. We don’t want the officers there to be arresting students.”

Boyle is a native of the Mon Valley who graduated from Serra Catholic High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science at California University of Pennsylvania.

He has volunteered as a line coach for the McKeesport Little Tigers for six years and has served for two years as an assistant baseball coach for the seventh- and eighth-grade teams at Founders Hall Middle School.

His wife, Ashlee Boyle, is principal at Founders Hall. They have two children attending school in the district.

A graduate of the state police academy at Hershey, Boyle has been a state trooper for 13 years and previously worked for 13 years for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

While stationed at Troop A Somerset Barracks, Boyle served as the community service officer, doing outreach in local schools, including drug-abuse resistance education and anti-drunk driving campaigns.

“I always thought I wanted to be either a teacher or a police officer, so it was a perfect match,” Boyle said. “When I learned (McKeesport Area) was getting a grant to to hire police, I was definitely interested. It was very attractive.”

In other business

At the board's first meeting following November’s election, oaths of office were administered by Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi to returning school directors Jim Brown, Steve Kondrosky, Joe Lopretto and Mindy Sturgess, and new school director Diane Elias.

The school board elected its officers for 2020-2022. Lopretto continues as board president and Sturgess was elected vice-president. Gary Matta of Dodaro, Matta & Cambest was retained as district solicitor.

Jason Togyer is the editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at

Originally published December 06, 2019.

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