Veteran named new interim Middletown police chief

Andy Warrick becomes city’s second interim chief since former leader’s departure.

A 22-year veteran has been named Acting Chief of the Middletown Division of Police while promotional testing continues for high-ranking spots in the department.

Major Andy Warrick assumed the chief role effective Saturday following the retirement of former acting chief Major Eric Crank on Friday.

Crank, who retired after 28 years of service to the force, was named acting chief in December when Chief David Birk was placed on administrative leave and later retired.

“Major Warrick has dedicated much of his public safety career to the city of Middletown, and we are confident in his leadership as we continue our process in appointing a permanent police chief in the near future,” said Middletown City Manager Paul Lolli.

Warrick was born in Trenton and graduated from Edgewood High School in 1981. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served for over 20 years.

He began his law enforcement career in Norfolk, Va., in 1989 and joined the Middletown police department September 2001 as a patrol officer. In 2007, he was appointed police sergeant, leading to his promotion as lieutenant in 2017. On New Year’s Day 2018, Warrick was appointed major and deputy police chief. Warrick is a 2013 graduate of the Union University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice.

Testing per civil service requirements is continuing with council expected to approve a new deputy chief in May. Testing will also be conducted for a new chief.

Middletown fire and police chiefs have to be hired from within, and contractual obligations say the ranks all the way down also have to be filled internally, Lolli said.

In a February interview with the Journal-News, Crank said he gave notice of his retirement in January, but it had nothing to do with Birk’s administrative leave and departure.

“I have been on the fence. Anybody who knew me, particularly my wife and son, knew I had been on the fence since last year,” Crank said. His wife Lynn is a Middletown dispatcher. “It was not secret to my family, but I think it was kind of a surprise to the city and others that people started inferring that I was leaving because of the whole Birk thing, and that was not it.”

After struggling about the retirement decision, Crank said he just knew it was time. He wants to spend more time with family, including a new grandchild.

“I have dedicated close to 33 years between this and the military. I am just tired of wearing a uniform. I am tired of shaving everyday. I am just tired. That’s all,” Crank said.

On March 5, Middletown City Council unanimously approved a voluntary separation agreement with Birk and the city, ending a nearly three-month paid administrative leave of the longtime officer. Birk was given an additional year’s pay as part of the agreement, but no reason given has been given for his departure after a reported internal investigation.

“Birk and council, along with its employees and agents, specifically and unequivocally deny any wrongdoing, and the parties further state that there has been no determination of wrongdoing made by any of the parties,” the separation agreement said.

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