Deppen named chief

‘One of our own’ to head Warren Police Department beginning Dec. 4

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Community Service Officer Sgt. Brandon Deppen has been selected to serve as the next chief of the City of Warren Police Department.

Brandon Deppen has been selected as the next chief of the City of Warren Police Department.

Deppen, approaching his 21st year with the department, will officially take the post on December 4.

He takes the place of Raymond Zydonik, who has been elected as magisterial district judge representing the City of Warren and Sheffield and Cherry Grove townships.

Deppen started with the department as a patrolman in 1997 under then Chief Richard Poorman, serving in that role until 2006 while simultaneously working as field training officer, crash investigator, managing special events and in community service.

He was promoted to sergeant in 2006 where he also managed officers and investigations until 2008 when Zydonik became chief and he was appointed to the role of community service officer where he has served since. He is also a recent graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Police School of Staff and Command.

Deppen said he was “very excited” when he found out he was selected. “It’s been a stressful couple of weeks going through the process.”

He added that he is “very happy with the outcome” and “pleased I can continue to serve our community.”

“Sgt. Deppen is, in my opinion, best suited to fill the role being vacated by Chief Zydonik,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said in an email making the announcement to the Times Observer, city council and city staff. “I believe that Chief Zydonik built a professional department and look to the new Chief to continue and expand that condition.”

Deppen said that his experience as community service officer “gave me the opportunity to work directly with the citizens on a different level.”

He noted he has also been facilitator of the Explorer program, which he called a “20-year investment.”

“One of the successes of that program, (there are) six former Explorers that are all currently police officers (with the department),” Deppen said. “I’m pretty proud of that… to see all your efforts that you put out to mentor young people.”

He also cited his experience working with “new and innovative ideas from Chief Zydonik” as influential for “how we will proceed into the future with the department. He was very innovative, always on the cusp of what technology was coming for law enforcement,” also citing the accreditation Zydonik brought to the department “which we will continue with, as well.”

Freenock said that the Pennsylvania Chief’s Association “assisted in the selection process.”

She said that seven candidates applied and four, all from Pennsylvania, accepted interviews with the Pa. Chief’s panel and city staff. Zydonik, she said, participated in some of the sessions, “only to explain the current make-up and operations of the” department.

“The process, I believe, was transparent, open and fair,” Freenock added.

And the responses received to her email making the announcement praised the choice.

“Very pleased with the selection!” Mayor Maurice Cashman responded. “One of our own.”

“That is great news!” Council member Elissa Davis said. “Looking forward to working with him in the future!”

“I think the City made a good choice,” Fire Chief Sam Pascuzzi added.

While he acknowledged that he and Zydonik have different styles, Deppen said that “both of us are professional and will provide (the community) with the highest professionalism possible. I feel that I’m approachable. People that know me well are aware of (that).

“The goal is to be open with the community,” Deppen said, “to have an open line of communication both ways so that we can do our main job, which is to serve our community.”