MOUNT CARMEL - Todd Owens, a member of the Mount Carmel Police Department since 1992, will be the borough's next chief of police, Mayor J. Kevin Jones confirmed Tuesday. Borough council is expected to formally appoint Owens during its monthly meeting Thursday.

Owens, succeeding Brian Shurock, who resigned from the chief's position in May, will lead a seven-man police force. Owens was appointed sergeant in the department in 2005.

"We were fortunate to have two good candidates for the position," Jones said. Although he didn't reveal who the other contender for police chief was, the mayor did say that he, too, is a Mount Carmel policeman. The borough only advertised the position within the department.

Jones said he has consulted with council about the appointment. The mayor met with Owens Tuesday morning to inform him of his selection.

"I want to thank council members and the mayor for their support and the trust they put in me

by appointing me to this position," Owens, 48, said when reached for comment Tuesday. "All the officers in this department do a great job every day. It's a team effort. I want to move the department forward by using more technology to help make day-to-day operations more efficient."

Owens, who resides in the Mount Carmel area, added, "We need to get back to community policing by getting more citizens involved with programs that will better protect the borough from crime."

In addition to serving as a sergeant for the past seven years, Owens has been a field supervisor for the Northumberland-Montour Drug Task Force and a task force officer for the Eagle Safe Streets Task Force with the FBI in Williamsport.

Owens, a graduate of Mount Carmel Area High School, will continue his duties with the multi-county task force. Although he will remain deputized, Owens will no longer work in a full-time capacity with the Eagle Safe Streets Task Force.

He thanked Cpl. Chris Buhay for handling administrative work at Mount Carmel while he was detached with the task force in Williamsport.