Johnny Perez considers the timing of his appointment with the Colebrookdale District Police Department ideal."I'm going to appreciate it a whole lot more," said Perez, who 23 years ago was thinking about a law enforcement career as high school graduation approached.

Perez, a Reading native, held several factory jobs, most recently as a cowhide shaver for Garden State Tanning. However, when the company moved to Mexico three years ago, the 41-year-old considered his options.

"I was making pretty good money," Perez said. "But it was pretty scary to think that my job could leave at a moment's notice."

Police work had always intrigued him. Just after graduating from Reading High School in 1984, Perez took a job with a local security company.

After losing his job making car interiors out of leather, Perez earned an associate's degree from Lehigh Valley College, completed an internship with the Reading Police Department, earned his state certification and sent out numerous resumes.

"I had already developed the people skills," he said.

After he was sworn in May 22 in front of Magisterial District Justice Michael Hartman, Perez thanked Chief Christopher Schott for recognizing his evenhanded approach.

"There's no need to heighten a situation," he said. "I try to deal with everything calmly, talk to them the right way to diffuse a potential situation. Police work makes me so happy."

Contact reporter Bradley Schlegel at 610-367-6041, ext. 240 or bschlegel

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