by Luke McDermott
After serving more than six years as a chief of police, at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Dale Blasko has decided to retire. Some people may note that the change occurs on the wake of a tragedy that affected the campus.
“It’s just ironic or somewhat coincidental that that event occurred in close proximity to my resignation,” said Blasko. “That event had no role in my decision. I was leaving here in November of 2014, one way or the other.” The official day for Blasko’s retirement is November 3.
When asked whether Blasko had given any reason for his leaving, the Vice President for Administrative Affairs, Carl Rossman, said that “he didn’t have to.” The campus’s Director of Human Resources, Mary Anne Koleny, explained how Pennsylvania “is an at-will-employment state.” That means that an employee has the right to leave an employer at any time, and an employer can dismiss its employee whenever it wants.
Blasko offered a more thorough view: “This position never ends. This position is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That becomes a bit grueling—calls at midnight, two, three in the morning, 18-hour days. I’ve been doing this for quite a while.” He also said that he notified his superior (Rossman) in “January or February of this year.”
Rossman also pointed out that Blasko “will not qualify for benefits through the school,” because of age and time employed. But Blasko’s kids have already graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and his employment with the university allowed them discounted rates.
Blasko has decided to leave his chief-of-police job, but that doesn’t mean that he’s opposed to another opportunity. “Since the ‘Sandy Hook’ shooting, there’s been a big push . . . to have retired, plain-clothes, armed police officers in schools,” said Blasko. “I’ve had talks with Penn Trafford . . . I’ve talked to some school-board personnel there.” As of now, he’s “waiting to see what opportunities occur, and meet with those individuals to see what the particulars of the employment would be.”
Now, Blasko is no stranger to change: after a 31-year career in the Pennsylvania State Police, Blasko is retiring for the second time in his life. While in the state police, Blasko also served six years as an undercover narcotics officer. Though in that line of work, he experienced a different sort of change. There were no tattoos, but he had “long hair, facial hair—oddities” that he doesn’t have now.
Blasko has offered advice to the administration on the hiring of a new chief of police. “He brought a wealth of experience with him,” said Rossman. But Rossman admitted that a replacement is “not likely” to be ready for November 4.