Aliquippa Police Chief Placed On Administrative Leave – Target Of State Police Investigation

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Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch was placed on paid administrative leave tonight by a vote of City Council.

Couch’s leave coincides with the Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury’s renewed activity in their investigations into allegations of public corruption in Beaver County.

The move to place Chief Couch on leave was spearheaded by Aliquippa Councilman Matthew Mottes, who for the past several months has been quietly aiding the Pennsylvania State Police with their investigations into Aliquippa. Mottes first revealed his role as an asset for State Police in an exclusive interview with the Beaver Countian on May 29th.

“This was the right thing to do, it was absolutely the right thing to do,” Mottes told the Beaver Countian after tonight’s vote. “This will be the first step of making the City right.”

Councilman Mottes contacted Councilman Arthur Piroli and Councilwoman Vickie Fratangeli individually yesterday, notifying them of his desire to place Chief Couch on leave, saying he had firsthand knowledge that Couch was the subject of investigation by State Police.

Several confidential sources have independently confirmed to the Beaver Countian that they have been interviewed by State Police about issues centering around Aliquippa’s Police Chief.

Councilman Mottes said he hopes the action taken tonight helps prove to the public that change in Aliquippa is possible. He said he believes the Pennsylvania State Police need to be a key partner in making that change happen.

“We want a renewed partnership with the State Police,” said Mottes. “We need them to help our department.”

Mottes said he believes distrust has been eroding the relationship between the Aliquippa Police Department and other agencies for far too long.

“We are working to change that,” said Mottes. “With the help of State Police and other agencies I want every unsolved murder to be solved in Aliquippa, from Will Motton to Sjavante Gilliam to Rachael DelTondo. Everybody deserves justice.”

Councilman Mottes said reforming the Aliquippa Police Department is a very personal mission for him.

“There are over 10 people who I grew up with that have been murdered,” said Mottes. “About half of those murders remain unsolved.”

Councilman Mottes informed Councilman Donald Walker and his brother Mayor Dwan Walker minutes before tonight’s meeting began that he would be making a motion for Chief Couch to be placed on leave.

The final vote to suspend Couch with pay was unanimous. City officials told the Beaver Countian that Chief Couch is part of his department’s police union, and any actions they take must be in accordance with binding bargaining agreements.

Chief Couch was escorted out of the municipal building immediately following the vote; he met officers at the Aliquippa Police Station where he surrendered his badge, gun, and other gear. He also turned over the car keys to his departmental vehicle.

The Beaver Countian was present at the meeting with its camera crew to capture the events on video as they unfolded.

Chief Couch’s administrative leave comes as the Pennsylvania State Police have conducted dozens of interviews focusing on the City of Aliquippa and its police department. The news stands in direct contrast to public assertions made by District Attorney David Lozier last month that no such investigations into the police department were ongoing. Lozier has faced harsh criticisms for the involvement of the Aliquippa Police Department in an investigation into the Mother’s Day murder of Rachael DelTondo.

“They would not be part of this team if there were any question as to their capacity or their integrity,” Lozier had insisted.

Aliquippa City Council will be appointing Assistant Chief Joseph Perciavalle to the position of acting Police Chief. Perciavalle has told City Officials he intends to contact the Pennsylvania State Police as his first official action, asking them to take over the investigation into the murder of Rachael DelTondo.

“I don’t feel Aliquippa Police should ever have been investigating the murder of Rachael DelTondo,” said Mottes. “Perciavalle and I are on the same page.”

It is unclear if the Pennsylvania State Police will agree to become involved in an investigation that up until now has been conducted by a team consisting of only Aliquippa Police and the Beaver County Detectives Bureau.

Aliquippa Police Chief Don Couch being placed on administrative leave / photo by John Paul

Vote to suspend Chief Couch:
Video by Bill Waddell for the Beaver Countian.

Chief Couch walking outside:
Video by John Paul

See Also:

FBI Among Agencies Conducting Years-long Investigations Into County Corruption

EXCLUSIVE: State Police And Witnesses Contradict Statements By District Attorney About Ongoing Investigations

GRAND JURY ACTION! Subpoenas Served In County Corruption Probes – Aliquippa On The Hot Seat!

Pennsylvania State Police Execute Search Warrant At Aliquippa City Building

Ambridge Council Places Chief Mann On Paid Leave – Hires Private Security Firm To Investigate Police Department

Investigation Of Ambridge Chief Includes Inquiries Into Time Sheets

State Grand Jury Convening Next Week On Alleged Corruption In Beaver County

77 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Mottes, you neglected to mention and include the late Officer James Naim with all of Quips unsolved murders! Hopefully, things will get better in Quip now!

     
  2. Did anybody else notice John-Joe standing at the door there?……….MaMa will be making a motion to hire him the new chief….or “Cuz Cuz” George David! Just wait…….it’s coming! Cuz Cuz didn’t go on the news about the DelTondo murder because he cares, because he doesn’t……He had a ulterior motive when he went on the news to make an ass of himself. Just wait………..

     
  3. Really Lozier…

    “They would not be part of this team if there were any question as to their capacity or their integrity,” Lozier had insisted.

    You should be placed on administrative leave too.

     
    • His decision making has been extraordinarily bad starting with the day he sent the State Police packing on the Friendship Ridge investigation to the day he allowed Aliquippa PD anywhere near the DelTondo crime scene. The big question, though, is if his judgement is just that bad or is there some other motive? Either way, he’s a one and done DA. But is there disbarment in his future? Maybe and orange jumpsuit? I just don’t see him salvaging any respect at this point. He’s become the punchline to a distasteful joke.

       
  4. Let’s talk about newly appointed Chief Perciavalle.
    1. Is wanna be Mayor Dwan Walker brother in law
    2. Has been selling drugs since he was in the 8th grade.
    3. Was a victim of a shooting in Aliquippa in a drug deal gone wrong. Refused to corporate with Aliquippa Police in that invesigation knowing who the shooter was.
    4. Drives an 80k vehicle making less then $20 an hour with dark tinted windows all the way around including the front windshield.
    5. On the job less then 5 years

     
  5. Exactly what I Said from Day 1 Aliquippa SHOULD NOT be investigating this murder @ All !!! They Should Of kept there filthy corrupt hands out of the investigation 2 begin with !!! They Prbly no doubt tainted the investigation SMDH !!! House of cards is going 2 crumple !!!

     
    • Just goin out on a limb here but gonna say it anyway… almost certain that “Prbly” and “no doubt” are opposites of each other.
      In your defense though, I can’t find Prbly’s meaning anywhere on the internet.

       
    • Also, I’d say if your post was written on a piece of paper I’d just crumple it and throw it away. #mulligan

       
  6. So the mayors only accomplishment is being the top couch salesman at Rent a Center and now your new chief is vanilla ice… What integrity! Theres major indictments forthcoming.

     
  7. Its a freak show Beaver County and Aliquippa are an aberration. New York Detroit nowhere else does such absolute bullshit insanity go on. Beaver County all those sanctimonious faces put the chief on administrative leave and with pay. And no comment dawon Walkers brother in law is going to be active chief its like the same record played over and over.

     
    • So wait a minute… the new chief is the mayors brother in law and the Jeter kid a person of interest in the Deltondo murder is the mayor’s nephew? Am I correct? 🤔

       
      • No your not correct at all definitely not a brother in law he had one sister and she wasn’t married and the Jeter boy is a relative but not a nephew and i didnt know you could pick family members idiot so if they were who you said they were what difference would that make

         
    • Please put 3 points here supporting this statement so we can all be enlightened. This is social media, let’s use it for good.

       
    • I’m not sure you can just “throw them away,” however, if they do, how do you think brand new cops will do in a city like that?

       
      • Recruits fresh out of the police academy would be perfect to replace all Aliquippa officers. Maybe that would have a positive influence on Aliquippa this demented downward cycle has got to be stopped. Don’t throw them away fire or prosecute there asses.

         
  8. Just a question out of curiosity: isn’t it a conflict of interest for relatives, spouses, etc to be within one city’s operations panel? Especially involving law enforcement/political involvement? I know of PTO boards that don’t even allow it.

     
  9. John Joe Fratangeli, former Sheriff George David’s right-hand man, waiting by the door. Waiting…waiting…just one of the crowd.

     
    • Like a buzzard circling a rotten carcass. Waiting to get involved and more scheming. Mommy, I need a job in Alighetto again so I can help Georgie become the Chief again. Rumor has it that the locals “liked” the way he took care of the black problem. Oppression. Civil rights violations. Good old days are here again for them.

       
  10. “They would not be part of this team if there were any question as to their capacity or their integrity,” Lozier had insisted.“

    Stonewall becomes the propaganda chief for these honorable men. It’s time for your administrative leave, Stonewall.

     
  11. The second video shows he walked out of the building, got into his car and drove away. He didn’t turn in his badge, keys and gun. WHAT? Why didn’t they make him leave those items immediately?

    Or does he get to keep the keys to the evidence room for a few days to clean some things up?

    Absolutely, no one serving on council should be related.

    If those charges are true statements made by a commenter above, about the now acting police chief… He’s the wrong choice.

    So Dwan AND his brother are on council, sitting beside each other voting. Now, Dwan’s brother in law IS NOW the acting police chief!?!?!?! Is that true??
    Who is the solicitor allowing this to happen? I’ll give you a hint.. it’s a conflict of interest and might want to refer to the nepotism policy.

    State police, can you please shut this down and straighten this out?

     
      • Look at the council members as the announcement is made and carried out. Total detachment and disinterest. Yep, this is what we practiced. The detail reaches the outside, and they split like a firecracker on the 4th. No surprises, no questions about what’s next. Even the solicitor knows his words, and says “personnel matter” right on cue to the media.

         
    • I’m not defending anyone, but specifics are important. Perciavalle isn’t a brother in law to the Walkers. A cousin by marriage, but not a brother in law.

       
  12. Did anyone else notice he did not hand over anything? I heard the councilman say he was to hand over his gun, badge, keys and phone!

     
    • What if the whole fucking thing was just a publicity stunt to get the chief off the hook for awhile and for the council to look credible? They would look a little better in the eyes of the State Police. A token effort, before the storm, to defray some of the criticism.

       
  13. This couldn’t have been more orchestrated, if they had passed out scripts and practiced beforehand. Yep, they all saw it coming and acted it out. Exit stage right. Curtain.

     
    • I don’t understand why Mr. Mottes would be part of an orchestrated effort. He seems straightforward enough. It was his motion. How did he manage to get an unanimous vote, tho? Did the rest vote yes to deflect from themselves? And again, why does the mayor have nothing to say to his community, or to investigators?

       
  14. Sorry about the number of comments. But, the more I think about this, the more I see it as “somewhat” fraudulent. No surprises, no debate, no reaction by anyone. The amused chief leaves on cue, like he is leaving for summer vacation, and plays his part. The cops detail steps up like a waiting chorus. Does the Sunshine Law apply here? It appears that no one entered that room without a plan. In an extreme interpretation, Mr. Matthew Mottes might be compromising by playing along to get a consensus. Say it ain’t so.

     
    • But what could the endgame possibly be? I hear you, I just can’t see how this is advantageous to anyone on council or for the PD. The state police aren’t going to go away just because Couch is on paid leave.

       
      • These are people who are being COMPELLED to abide by the law. If there were no threat of investigation, this would not be happening. So, what do you do? Put up some token actions that look genuine and put the wolves off the scent as window dressing. There is not a person in that room, except for John Paul, that I would trust. They have not earned it in the past, and this doesn’t make then credible.

         
      • I wouldn’t trust any of them either. But I think it’s too little too late for anyone with dirt under their fingernails. There’s no way they can un-do what they’ve already done and I believe the Grand Jury already has what they need. Mottes didn’t go out on a limb. The State Police were on board with this move.

         
      • Could be everyone in that room except JP just tried to play all of Beaver County en masse. A supposedly small but a start to clean up Beaver County? Then why all those sad sad faces. I think the bullshit meter is reading 105…….

         
  15. For everyone saying “He left without turning over his stuff”, you can hear Cheif Couch say, “Ya, We’ll go down there”, meaning they are going to hand that stuff over at the station… grasping at straws here.

     
  16. No handing over his “be!ongings” he gets to take the radio, gun and keys? Only in Aliquippa. I understand these meetings are open to the public, but why would John Joe be there? He doesn’t live in Aliquippa. Aliquippa will not change, too many crooked people in charge. So glad I left that town when I did.

     
    • His mother is on council, she isn’t in the best of health, and she doesn’t drive. Now draw your conclusions.

       
      • O am so sorry to see that Ms. Frantangeli is sick. I am glad her son is so intent on taking care of his mother. Why not get a ride from a member of council? It appears that council members are close to each other and I am sure she can get a ride from any one of them. Unfortunately when I see her son anywhere near anything political i can see someone getting arrested trumped up charges, or other illegal activities.

         
  17. Just another attempt to attack Aliquippa. Where is the stories about our new football coach, San Rocco days, Mayor Walker’s campaign to become County Commissioner ???

    And I’m still waiting for an answer on why we aren’t getting a Popeye’s.

     
    • Don’t worry, you’re getting a Dollar General. At least until it closes because of excessive inventory theft.

       
  18. So as a taxpayer, why are my tax dollars going to fund Beaver County Detectives? How many does the county employee at this point? How many overlapping layers of investigators do we need before it becomes counterproductive? Lozier’s private police need to be gone immediately.

     
  19. “They would not be part of this team if there were any question as to their capacity or their integrity,” Lozier had insisted.

    I don’t think anyone has to make too much of a stretch for Lozier to label them with the word “integrity”.

     
  20. Go to the BC article “Facebook Posts Attributed To Aliquippa’s Assistant Chief About Fallen Officer James Naim Going Viral” to get an insight into Perciavalle, and Walker, and perhaps why his name was omitted by Mottes.

     
  21. The papers in his hands and in councils hands were scripts .not are they only poor cops they are bad actors…we need to make the public think we are listening to the accusations. The acting is about as good as the investigation. Clean house!!

     
  22. How can a chief of police be in a union? I always thought only non supervisory personnel were allowed to be in a union. This makes no sense.

     
  23. There are a lot of chiefs in the bargaining unit. They’re protected. He’ll probably come out of this with back pay plus other compensation.

     

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