West Whiteland Township has dedicated its newest park to retired Police Chief Joseph Catov Jr.
Friends, family, and others in attendance at the ceremony at Joseph Catov Jr. Park admired the new baseball field and softball field, and Catov’s granddaughter enjoyed the new playground equipment at what was previously known as Boot Road Park North.
Catov dedicated 42 years to West Whiteland Township, starting in 1978 as a Patrolman, then serving as Detective, Detective Sergeant, and Lieutenant before being appointed Chief of Police in 2013.
“Joe was the obvious choice, a no-brainer when he was promoted to Detective,” said Ralph Burton, West Whiteland Township’s Chief of Police from 1999 to 2010. “I had every confidence that Joe would solve a case, no matter how bad. Joe was absolutely relentless and an incredibly hard worker.”
Township Manager Mimi Gleason shared her thoughts on the six years she spent working with Catov.
“Joe was an absolute pleasure to work with,” said Gleason. “He embodies professionalism, humility, and cooperation. Joe is what every person in this country wants as a good police officer.”
The West Whiteland Township Police Department has a long history of excellence. One of Catov’s goals was to get the Police Department accredited. More important than ever in this time of increased focus on police accountability, that goal came to fruition in 2018 when the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC) awarded accreditation after an assessment in which the department demonstrated its compliance with 139 professional standards.
Under Catov’s leadership, the Police Department also implemented Crimewatch, an online system to provide transparency and keep citizens informed.
“This is a great honor, which I did not expect,” said Catov. “Thank you to my family, without whose support I could not have had the career I did. Thank you to (former township supervisors) Bud Turner and Steve Soles who had faith in me and appointed me Chief.”
Current township supervisors Rajesh Kumbhardare, Theresa Santalucia, and Joshua Anderson were pleased to unveil the new park.
“Look around at this gorgeous park,” said Kumbhardare. “We have fields, restrooms, a spacious pavilion, and this gleaming playground. The entire community will enjoy this. What a wonderful place to bring our children and grandchildren.”
Kumbhardare also noted that residents of Whiteland Woods and Indian King can enjoy the new walking trail connecting their neighborhoods to Catov Park, where they can then access more trails and recreation across the street at Boot Road Park South.
Trail access and connectivity are high on the list of Township goals, as is preserving open space. Kumbhardare said that “even with the recent development uptick, over one-fifth of the township is permanently protected open space. It is gratifying to see our residents enjoying these spaces, as well as getting back out to support our local businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.”
West Whiteland Township has owned the property at 71 West Boot Road for more than 15 years. This development project was sparked by Exton Little League’s need for a temporary baseball and softball field when the organization was displaced from Meadowbrook Manor in 2019 due to pipeline construction.
West Whiteland was able to hit the ball out of the park, providing permanent facilities to benefit ELL in the short run and the community in the long run. The fields were built and funded entirely by Energy Transfer.
“We got two new community fields without paying a dime,” said Anderson. “This is definitely something to celebrate.”
West Whiteland Township’s Friends of the Parks is a nonprofit that contributes to the high quality of life so valued by area residents. Its members are unpaid volunteers who provide hundreds of hours of service to the community each year. Learn more.