Meet Blawnox’s new police chief, Patrick Goodman

Saturday, October 5, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Blawnox Chief of Police Patrick Goodman’s phone rings with John Mellencamp’s song “Small Town.” It’s the perfect anthem for the 22-year veteran who stepped up to lead the small department just a month ago.

“Oh,” Goodman stopped. “There’s a lot more to do as a chief. I want to do it the right way.”

He gave a big salute to his predecessor George Bucha.

“I have a newfound respect for Chief [George] Bucha. He’s a legend. I’ve got big shoes to fill. Obviously I want to live up to that.”

As chief, Goodman has added administrative duties. He schedules the police department, which includes one full-time officer, Nickalas Hawk, and four part-time officers. Goodman takes care of their payroll, too.

However, since there is usually only one officer on duty in the small town, the chief still goes out on calls. Returning messages and calls are part of his everyday duties, just like every Blawnox officer.

Goodman said service is the major duty for all Blawnox officers. The borough police help the elderly in the high rise and unlocking doors for residents. Yet, they rise to the challenge and investigate when necessary.

“We’re a strong police department,” the chief said.

He wants to keep them moving forward, too. Tasers, stun guns and training are on the plan. He supports mandatory, yearly training. All officers attend the county program for two days. There are special classes, too, which the new chief sees as helpful to young officers.

A college degree is becoming the norm in many departments. Goodman, 43, finished his degree just a few years ago.

The new chief respects education. He recognizes the knowledge which comes with years on the job, too. “Street college. What you actually learned doing the job is important.”

Goodman knows his town. He grew up on Montrose Hill. His wife and two children Nicholas, 13, and Abby, 9, are there. He lives near his parents’ former home. And, the O’Hara community is interwoven with Blawnox.

Goodman’s father was part of the O’Hara road department. He grew up knowing police and municipal workers in the lower valley. It wasn’t until he was at Fox Chapel Area High School that he considered police service as his life’s goal.

Blawnox’s police department is small, but that has benefits, too.

Often during his daylight shift, the chief meets with the “fresh faces” at the school bus stop.

“The greatest thing about Blawnox is there is still a strong sense of community. There are a lot of good people and work to keep it that way.”

The chief sees a “natural progression as the community gets younger.”

He said, “Relationships still work, especially in a small community like this. People don’t forget.”

Part of the core of the small town, Goodman acknowledges the support of the borough’s government.

And like all small communities, the head cop in Blawnox relies on every surrounding police department.

“No one single department has the manpower to handle everything,” Goodman said. “Cooperation is what makes it work.”