A humbling honor

Retired police chief will be recognized as Person of the Year by the Feasterville Business Association

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

A great honor: Longtime Lower Southampton resident and former police chief William Wiegman Jr. will be recognized as Person of the Year by the Feasterville Business Association at its 2018 Frolic on Saturday, April 14, at Brookside Manor. SOURCE: Stu Coren

When William Wiegman Jr. began his career with the Lower Southampton Police Department in 1973, he felt as though he had stepped into Andy Griffith’s old-timey town of Mayberry. But after a childhood upbringing in West Philadelphia, the close-knit community was a welcome change of pace.

Hearty shouts of “Hey, Billy!” greeted Wiegman whenever he visited the local shopping center during his patrol duties, something he never tired of hearing during his 43 years with the department. Though he retired from his most current role as chief of police in 2016, Wiegman still garners that same respect today.

On Saturday, April 14, Wiegman will be recognized as Person of the Year by the Feasterville Business Association at its 2018 Frolic, which will be held at Brookside Manor at Somerton Springs. Despite his lengthy and highly impactful career in Lower Southampton, Wiegman admitted to The Times he was surprised and humbled to learn he was chosen.

“I’m honored that they think that much of me,” he said. “There are a lot of hard-working individuals in that organization.”

But it was those exact individuals who thought he was the right choice. Wiegman was selected as Person of the Year after receiving the majority of nominations from members of the FBA, which he has been a proud member of for 18 years. According to FBA president Rick Tyrrell, the former police chief was an obvious candidate to receive the honor.

“Wiegman is being recognized and singled out for special attention for his service to the FBA, as well as to the community-at-large,” Tyrrell said. “He has been a member of the FBA for 18 years and previously served as president, vice president and a member of the organization’s executive board. He also has served on numerous committees including the July 4th Parade, charity golf outing, college scholarship awards and blue light honoring fallen police officers.”

When Wiegman first came on board as a patrolman with the Lower Southampton Police Department, he worked under former police chief Edward “Duke” Donnelly, another proud FBA member. At first, Wiegman didn’t see the correlation. Why would a cop belong to a business organization?

With time, he began to understand how the two groups supported each other. For example, officers would conduct security checks at local businesses, while owners kept the department in the loop about the ever-changing community. Wiegman found the FBA’s pro-police attitude to be “refreshing,” and knew he wanted to follow in Donnelly’s footsteps.

“It was a natural progression,” he said of his decision to join. “The FBA really strives to stand up for what it believes in.”

As mentioned by Tyrrell, the decision to name Wiegman Person of the Year was based on a dedication to his community that stretches far beyond his time with the police and FBA. Currently, he serves as president on the board of directors of the Southeastern Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency and is an active member of the Feasterville Rotary Club and Knights of Columbus.

He also serves on numerous law enforcement advisory boards including the Bucks County Emergency Radio Advisory Board, Bucks County South Central Special Response Team, Bucks County Public Safety Committee, Bucks County Fatality Review Board, Bucks County Domestic Violence Task Force and Promotional Boards and Oral Interviews.

In addition, Wiegman belongs to the Bucks County Chiefs of Police Association and the Fraternal Order of Police, is president of the Bucks County Hero Scholarship Fund and served as past president of the Delaware Valley Association of Professional Police Officials. He also served as vice president of the League of the Sacred Heart and is a member of the FBI National Academy Associates, Vidocq Society, German American Police Association and the Philadelphia Emerald Society.

Wiegman’s educational background includes an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Bucks County Community College, a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from Penn State University as well as graduate studies through the FBI National Academy at the University of Virginia. He also completed numerous law enforcement training programs at Penn State and Northwestern Universities and has undergone training at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy and the Bucks County Chief of Police Intercounty Detective School.

Wiegman and his wife Joan, of 39 years, have one son Bill, who serves as a Bucks County juvenile probation officer. They also have two grandchildren, 7-year-old Liam and 3-year-old Lizzie. ••

If you go…

The Feasterville Business Association’s 2018 Frolic will be held at Brookside Manor at Somerton Springs, 50 Bustleton Pike in Feasterville, on Saturday, April 14. Cocktails will be at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7 p.m. The public is invited. Tickets are $75 per person, which includes the cocktail reception, open bar, dinner, silent auction, live music and dancing to the Craig Stachell Orchestra. For information, call 215–206–5664 or email rmcmenamin@verizon.net.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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