Well-known New Hanover DARE officer Sgt. Tomaselli dies after cancer battle

Former New Hanover police officer Sgt. Joe Tomaselli at his final DARE graduation at the Boyertown School District. (File/21stCenturyMeda/Kevin Hoffman)

NEW HANOVER — Sgt. Joseph Tomaselli, who spent 31 years in the New Hanover Police Department, died Wednesday morning after battling breast cancer.

“He was as dedicated a law enforcement officer as there ever was,” recalled Mike Dykie, former New Hanover police chief and longtime friend of Tomaselli.

Tomaselli became a sergeant with the New Hanover Police Department in 1986. “His life was dedicated to police work,” Dykie said.

Tomaselli was also a member of the Chester-Montgomery Emergency Response Team.


“We were a part of the original team,” said Mark Flanders, Pottstown borough manager. “He went to great lengths to get himself schooled in the tactical world.”

Tomaselli was diagnosed with breast cancer after he found a lump the size of a dime in May 2010. Less than a month later, he underwent surgery to remove the lump, which was diagnosed as stage 4 breast cancer.

In a November 2010 article, Tomaselli spoke about where he got his strength during that trying time in his life. One place he found it was in the DARE programs at local schools.

“I drew from them,” Tomaselli said about the students he taught. “Their involvement in the program gave me some strength.”

According to Dykie, Tomaselli had to get permission from the town supervisor in order to teach the DARE programs because they were out of his jurisdiction.

“Sgt. Tomaselli was a valued member at (Boyertown Area Junior High East).” said a spokesperson for the district. “Hdid a great job instructing the students of DARE. He loved his job and served as a mentor and role model. He will be deeply missed.”

In an April 2011 article in the Boyertown Area Times, Tomaselli said, “The DARE program and working with kids keeps me in police work.”

Not only was Tomaselli a good DARE instructor, he was also a good fishing instructor.

“I remember when he taught my son to fish for bass on the Schuylkill River,” Flanders said. “That was probably 15 or 20 years ago. We had a lot of fun.

“He was an awesome family man, with good values and a strong work ethic.”

Tomaselli was married and had three children.

“He was good at what he did,” Dykie said. “He was a good officer and a good friend. He was invaluable to the police department.”