Whitehall Township was originally established in 1753. The township was subsequently split into the three townships of Whitehall, North Whitehall and South Whitehall in 1867. The name of the township is believed to have originated from Lynford Lardner’s hunting lodge that was painted with whitewash.
Lardner was an apprentice to John and Thomas Penn as well as a Trustee at the University of Pennsylvania from 1762 until his death in 1774. Lardner named his hunting lodge "Grouse Hall", but the residents of the area referred to it as "White Hall”.
Whitehall Township included the villages of Cementon, Egypt, Fullerton, Hokendauqua, Mickleys, Stiles and West Catasauqua. The Borough of Coplay was also part of Whitehall until it incorporated as a borough in 1869.
During this early time, courts appointed constables to enforce laws and provide protection for the citizens. The first constable of Whitehall Township was Godfrey Knauss who was appointed by the Court of Northampton County upon the founding of Whitehall Township in 1753.
Starting in October of 1905, the five wards or villages of the township began to each employ their own police officer. The one patrolman for each ward was paid a monthly salary of $40 and served the ward as a Road Foreman by keeping all of the dirt roads in his village in good condition; an Inspector by examining wires, poles, water and gas mains along with fixing any dangerous faults that were found; and finally as a Police Officer by enforcing the laws of the Commonwealth.
In 1909, the township’s villages requested chemicals firefighting engines to better protect the community. The cost of $1,500 was bore by the township with the requirement that each village had to build or rent a station at their own expenses in order to house the apparatus. Along with this requirement was the stipulation that the station had to contain one or more jail cells and also have a large meeting room for township commissioner meetings. Thus the first “police stations” in Whitehall Township were created.
The last documented police officers of the wards were:
Ward 1 Fullerton- Daniel Newhart and Lou Kline
Ward 2 West Catasauqua- Norman Anglestein
Ward 3 Stiles and Mickleys- LeRoy Fahringer
Ward 4 Cementon- Larry Nero, Howard Kelchner and assistant Steven Rapchack
Ward 5 Egypt- Howard Serfass
The officers patrolled these wards until 1946 when the Whitehall Township Police Department, as we currently know it, was formed. The police department's first chief of police was Ward 5's police officer Howard “Sticks” Serfass. During the next twenty years, Whitehall Police also employed Chiefs of Police LeRoy Fahringer, Lou Kline, and LeRoy Fahringer for a second time.
In 1966 Victor Talotta became the fifth, and longest serving Chief of Police. Chief Talotta was initially hired along with Michael Holubowsky and Daniel Peters in March of 1948. Talotta served as Chief of Police up until his death in 1980 and was the longest serving Police Chief in Whitehall history.
Whitehall Township looked south when they hired the Chief of Police from West Grove Police Department in Baltimore, Maryland. On September 30, 1980; Frederic A. Conjour, who also previously was employed by the Baltimore City Police Department as a Sergeant, was appointed to the position of Whitehall Chief until January 17, 1992. Chief Conjour was instrumental by implementing the federally funded D.A.R.E. program which trained Whitehall Officers in how to teach school students about the dangers of drugs.
On October 12, 1992 Richard K. Bentz was appointed as the Police Chief of Whitehall Township. Chief Bentz only served the township until September 5, 1993. During this time period Whitehall Police formed their own Emergency Response Team in order to execute high risk arrest and search warrants.
Township officials again looked outside of the police department in order to fill the position of top cop. James Walsh was employed by the city of Lancaster for 21 years as an administrative Lieutenant when he was chosen as the next Whitehall Chief. Walsh was appointed on October 4, 1993 and was credited with implementing the citizen police academy and encouraging community crime watch programs. Chief Walsh created the K9 program for the Whitehall Police Department. Walsh resigned as Chief in June of 1996.
Dennis L. Peters was appointed as Whitehall’s Police Chief on October 14, 1996. Chief Peters was a member and supervisor of the Whitehall ERT and also served as the Patrol Division Lieutenant. Chief Peters was instrumental in forming a cooperation with the Whitehall-Coplay School District to place School Resource Officers in the high school and eventually the middle school. In September of 2001, Whitehall Township Police Officers joined the newly formed Lehigh County Municipal Emergency Response Team. The team was created with officers from eleven separate municipalities and eight law enforcement agencies. Chief Peters retired on August 3, 2002.
Whitehall Township then tapped the services of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop M Commander Theodore D. Kohuth as the next Chief of Whitehall. Chief Kohuth was sworn in as Chief on May 10, 2003. One of Chief Kohuth's first initiatives was to replace the aged brown departmental police uniforms with a more traditional navy blue uniform. Chief Kohuth continued to modernize the Whitehall Police Department by obtaining new technology such as a new records management system and also the continued replacement of aging equipment. He also sought out new solutions and implemented new tactics to deal with growing problems within high-crime areas of the township. Also during this time, the Whitehall Police had the largest complement of officers at 51 and were able to have officers assigned to specialized positions such as Vice, Intelligence and also two officers assigned to Auto Theft Investigations. Chief Kohuth retired from the Whitehall Township Police on May 27, 2011.
Whitehall Township's eleventh Police Chief was also the Lehigh Valley's first female Chief. Linda J. Kulp was hired as a police dispatcher in 1979 and subsequently hired as a police officer.
in 1984. She was eventually promoted to the Lieutenant of Administration and appointed as Police Chief on February 24, 2012. Chief Kulp retired from the department on March 31, 2016.
Over the years, the Whitehall Police Department called several buildings home. The first official department station was the Fullerton Police Station which was occupied in approximately 1911. The building was originally shared with the fire company and also the town hall and was located at 212 Quarry Street. The station was replaced by the current fire station at 2nd and Quarry Streets.
In 1965 the Police Department again moved to the current municipal complex located at 3219 MacArthur Road. The police department occupied a portion of the first floor as well as the basement of the building until growth and progress created the need for a larger police station.
On September 17, 1993 the Whitehall Police raised the flag over their new police station located at its current location of 3731 Lehigh Street. The building was originally an ambulance corps station and was retrofitted to house the members of the police department. Mayor Ed Hozza announced in January of 2015 that one of his short term goals was to replace the aging building and move the police department into a purpose built structure that could accommodate the department for the long term.
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