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Four Middletown police officers recognized for various achievements

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/13/17

If you are a drug dealer in Middletown, Patrol Officer Tyler Zehring “is coming for you,” says borough Police Chief George Mouchette.

Zehring was one of four Middletown police officers …

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Four Middletown police officers recognized for various achievements

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If you are a drug dealer in Middletown, Patrol Officer Tyler Zehring “is coming for you,” says borough Police Chief George Mouchette.

Zehring was one of four Middletown police officers recognized during a recent borough council meeting with awards, presented by Mouchette and Mayor James H. Curry III.

The others were Detective Gary Rux II, Patrol Officer Wade Bloom, and part-time Patrol Officer Rebecca Hulstine.

Officer Tyler Zehring

Zehring has been a Middletown police officer for a little more than two years. He was hired as a part-time officer in July 2015 and earned a full-time position a year later. In July, Zehring was taken off probation, making permanent his full-time status.

His mother worked for the State Police. Zehring also has had family members who were in trouble with the law, both for drug crimes and other types of crime.

“It kind of inspired me to go out and help people,” Zehring told the Press & Journal. He went to the police academy as soon as he turned 21.

He started with the Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office in July 2013. He was hired as a part-time officer with Royalton Police in January 2014 before coming over to Middletown.

Zehring had 99 arrests in 2016, more than any other Middletown police officer, Mouchette said, in honoring Zehring. He is on pace to exceed that number in 2017, as Zehring has about 85 arrests as of now.

“One person doesn’t make an arrest,” Zehring said. “People will say ‘Zehring arrested me.’ Well no, he signed a criminal complaint. Numerous people arrested you. One person searched your house, one person searched you car, another person took you into custody. We all did the job of arresting you.

“I want to credit the whole department. There’s not an officer in the department I haven’t made an arrest with. I’d like to give them credit.”

Zehring is “a pit bull,” especially when it comes to drug dealers, Mouchette said. “He’s my best and brightest now. I wish I had 10 like him.”

The opioid epidemic hits home for Zehring. His cousin died from a heroin overdose in 2016. 

“I take great passion in going out and solving drug crimes and putting dealers behind bars,” he said. “Also, I have family that lives in Middletown, so I take great care in patrolling the streets of Middletown. I have nieces and nephews that go to the schools. The last thing I want is for them to get involved with drugs, so if I can prevent that from happening then I accomplished what I set out to do.”

People using heroin have no idea what they are getting, Zehring said. 

“It’s not straight heroin. It’s all fentanyl or it’s fentanyl-laced inside of it. You’re taking chances whether you are going to live or die. If I was that person, my life wouldn’t be worth taking a chance on.”

Police need more help from residents, Zehring said. 

“One thing we lack is a lot of public tips. They can be 100 percent confidential, you don’t have to give your name. If Middletown police received tips on who is selling heroin or even doing heroin and needs help, we would be able to take that information and run with it.”

Detective Gary Rux II

Rux received an award for “exceptional community service.”

Rux is already well-known in the Middletown community, having organized the borough’s highly successful annual National Night Out for many years.

This year, Rux took a back seat to Patrol Officer Adam Tankersley, who was put in charge of National Night Out after Rux was promoted to detective in January.

“It’s a very new job, it’s a very difficult job,” Mouchette said. “He’s had no experience in it and he’s stepped up to the plate and is doing a great job.”

The chief also noted that Rux “never says no,” either to the community or to the chief.

Rux recently re-organized the department’s entire property room, which Mouchette said “was a job that every expert I brought in (said) would take an entire year. He’s about 90 percent finished with it now.”

Re-doing the property room was among recommendations regarding an administrative makeover of the department that had been included in a report done for borough council in 2015, according to Curry.

“For him (Rux) to take that on with the help of other teammates, that was very, very important to the integrity of the department,” the mayor said.

Rux has been a police officer for eight years, and has been a police officer with Middletown for the past seven years.

Patrol Officer Wade Bloom 

Mouchette likened Bloom to a “Texas Ranger” because of the cowboy boots that Bloom is fond of wearing.

“If he showed up at my house I’d be a little scared,” Mouchette said.

Mouchette said he quickly came to rely upon Bloom after Mouchette, a retired New York City police detective, was tapped by Curry to be interim police chief in January after former Chief John Bey resigned.

“This guy has been my right-hand man for the past eight months,” Mouchette said in honoring Bloom. “I can call him up at 3 o’clock in the morning and if I had a citizen complaint, whether it be a burglary or there’s an abandoned car on the corner, I can call Wade up and Wade will take care of it.”

“I can’t ask for a better cop. He really exemplifies everything that we all expect from our police officers.”

Bloom has also been made a shift supervisor, meaning that when one of the department’s new sergeants, Dennis Morris and Scott Yoder, are not present, Bloom will supervise a shift and be “sharing a leadership role in the police department,” Mouchette said. 

A resident of Shermans Dale in Perry County, Bloom has been a police officer for 10 years, eight of them with Middletown.

Part-time Officer Rebecca Hulstine

Hulstine, of Palmyra, has been a Middletown police officer since May 2015.

Before that Hulstine spent 10 years as a police officer in Pottstown in Montgomery County, from 2003 to 2013.

“Since she’s been on the force I’ve received numerous emails and telephone calls from people indicating how great of a job she is doing,” Curry said.

Hulstine  was recognized after being involved in what the mayor called a “particularly touchy situation” involving a family.

“I received an email from this person expressing their gratitude for the professionalism of Officer Hulstine, as well as her sympathy,” Curry added. “It was that type of community effort that really impressed this person. That’s something that we want to stress going forward.”

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