Chief John Leahy resigns from North Cornwall Twp. Police Department


NORTH CORNWALL TWP, Pa. (WHTM) — On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the North Cornwall Township Board of Supervisors held a meeting at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center in Lebanon County.

At the meeting, the Board of Supervisors announced Chief John Leahy has resigned from his position.

On Feb. 22, Leahy was placed on administrative leave following the FBI investigation of North Cornwall Township police officer Joe Fischer and his involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

At Tuesday’s meeting the Township Attorney Michael Miller read the following statement:

“North Cornwall Township does not usually comment on personnel matters. However, in view of the public interest in recent events, it will provide these comments.

Police Officer Joseph Fischer remains on unpaid suspension as required by the Pennsylvania Confidence in Law Enforcement Act. The Township will continue to monitor developments in the case brought by the United States against Mr. Fischer. There are no further updates regarding Officer Fischer at this time and the Township has no further comment.

Chief John Leahy has voluntarily elected to resign his employment with the North Cornwall Township. As with Officer Fischer, the Township has no further comment.

As it has previously indicated, the Township recognizes each citizen’s right of free speech and association as well as his or her right to a presumption of innocence regarding any pending criminal charges. The Township also expects all citizens to understand that the exercise of the right of free speech and the right to association comes with a responsibility to accept the consequences of one’s actions.

Neither the Township or any officer or employee endorses, accepts or condones any alleged participation in a crime against the United States nor any act committed by an individual who may have illegally breached the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The North Cornwall Township and its police department is dedicated to the proposition that they are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the residents which they are sworn to protect. The Board of Township Supervisors wishes to express its gratitude to its residents as it works to ensure that all appropriate questions are asked and measures undertaken to protect the continuing professionalism of the Police Department.”

Ellie Salahub, who lives in the township said she’s glad to see the Chief go, but wants Officer Fischer out too, not just suspended without pay.

“It’s really disturbing. It’s also disturbing that John Leahy basically lied to the public and said he didn’t know anything about what had happened and Fischer’s involvement,” Salahub said. “I don’t understand why the officer is only suspended and has not been fired.”

Fred Tomco, who also lives in the township, defended the officer.

“I just hope we’re taking into consideration all of the information before we make any decision regarding this police officer. All the details are still not known about what happened on Jan. 6. I think a lot of it is blown out of proportion.”

Sergeant Harry Ward is currently acting as chief of the department.

Additionally, the North Cornwall Board released a statement following the FBI investigation, Fischer’s arrest, and the decision to put Leahy on leave with pay.

The board said it, “wishes to express its confidence in the members of its Police Department who continue to provide public safety services to the Township’s residents, regardless of recent events.”

One week ago, Fischer attended a federal court hearing related to his arrest for his role in the Capitol riot. He was released under his wife’s supervision.

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