KNOX — Knox Borough police Chief Jason Bowen on Monday submitted his resignation from that position and announced he is no longer a candidate for the Republican nomination for Forest County sheriff.
Bowen has accepted a position as a forensic investigator with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Bowen's last day with the Knox Police Department will be June 20.
Jean Ann Hitchcock, director of elections in Forest County, confirmed Bowen’s name will still be on the May 18 primary election ballot, but Bowen said he would not accept the nomination if he were to win.
Bowen’s change in career plans leaves William D. Carbaugh Jr. as the lone Republican candidate for Forest County sheriff. Joseph G. Schmader is the Democratic Party candidate.
It is the second time Bowen, who has more than 10 years of experience with the department, has resigned as chief.
He first left the borough on Jan. 13, 2018, to pursue a career with Michigan State Police but soon changed his mind. Knox rehired Bowen 11 days later as a patrolman, He worked under Joab Orr, whom the borough promoted to chief when Bowen left.
When Orr eventually left Knox for a job in Oil City, Knox Borough Council promoted Bowen to police chief.
Bowen thanked council and the Knox community for the opportunities he has been afforded there, calling Knox “like home.”
Bowen said he is not leaving Knox for another law enforcement opportunity.
“This is different. Basically if a person doesn’t die of natural causes, I’ll be investigating that,” Bowen said of his new job.
Bowen told the Clarion News he applied for the job in Allegheny County a few months ago and only recently heard a response from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Council met in executive session to hear Bowen’s initial resignation announcement and then asked Bowen to leave the room while council members met with Knox Borough Patrol Officer Nicole L. Bauer.
The combined closed-door sessions lasted about 30 minutes.
When the public meeting resumed, council President Jack Bish left the session due to a previously announced departure time.
Council Vice President Linda Runyan reconvened the meeting. Bauer was no longer in the room.
Council voted to accept Bowen’s resignation with Bish now absent and Runyan casting a symbolic “no” vote.
Bowen’s resignation was accepted “with regret.” No announcement of a new police chief is expected until next month.
Council member Tom Goble said council had made an employment offer to “a candidate” for the position of police chief.
That candidate was not identified, but Runyan acknowledged the borough is seeking candidates for a patrol officer’s position.
During the closed-door session, Bowen told the Clarion News he would “whole-heartedly” endorse Bauer for the position of police chief.
Bauer was hired by the borough in July. At the time, she was employed by the Armstrong County Sheriff’s Department and the Manor Township (Armstrong County) Police Department.
With 10 years of law enforcement experience, Bauer, 32, also has worked for the Clarion County Sheriff’s Department and the New Bethlehem Police Department.