WELCOMING THREE NEW POLICE OFFICERS Protecting the public is in Officer Maverick Kelsea’s blood. His grandfather is a retired state trooper and his late uncle served as a Butler County detective for many years. Other friends and family also served in law enforcement and the military.
Now Kelsea, 26, is a part of that group, as one of the Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s newest officers. He was hired in December, completed the police academy in April and has been in field training since. He is expected to finish training this month.
“I wanted to follow in my grandpa’s footsteps and make him proud,” said Kelsea, who grew up in a small town in Butler County. He and his fiance, Taylor, sought jobs closer to the city to provide more opportunities for their family.
Kelsea attended Clarion University on a football scholarship, graduating in 2020 with a degree in criminal justice. Since then, he has worked as a correctional officer for the Butler County prison and in private investigations. He is excited to make a difference in the community and hopes to someday become a detective.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he said of Mt. Lebanon.
Outside of work he enjoys hunting and fishing, watching sports and hanging out with friends and family.
Officer John Maus is a self-proclaimed people person. As one of the Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s newest officers, he’s excited to get to know people in the community.
“I’m probably one of the easiest people to talk to. I think that’s one of the reasons that I was drawn to this profession,” said Maus, 32.
Growing up, as a student in the North Allegheny School District, he often competed against Mt. Lebanon. But he also grew a fondness for the area. “I’m pretty proud to be here,” he said.
Maus, who graduated from LaRoche College with a degree in criminal justice, worked at a Ford dealership for 12 years.
“It was not what I wanted to wake up and do every day,” he said. “This has always been my passion. It’s something that I’ve always looked up to. I’m finally chasing my dream.”
Maus graduated from the Allegheny County Police Academy in June and was hired that same month in Mt. Lebanon. He’s been in field training since and likely will start solo patrol at the beginning of this month, at the latest.
His goal is to help people. “That’s the most gratifying part of the job,” he said. “Sometimes it’s an ugly thing that you see, but you’re able to comfort people, help people and ultimately save people. At the end of the day that’s one of the best feelings that you can have.”
Maus hopes to someday join the Critical Incident Response Team.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, including his wife, Ashley, and their dog. He also enjoys exercise and being outdoors.
Officer Nico Cicco wanted to be a police officer his entire life. Today, that dream is coming true, as he joined the Mt. Lebanon Police Department in August.
Cicco, 24, who grew up in Butler County, always enjoyed Spider-Man and sees this as the closest role he can have to that, in real life.
“I like how you can help people. It makes me feel good helping people,” he said.
Cicco attended Wheeling Jesuit University, where he played lacrosse for two years before transferring to Lincoln Memorial University, where he received his bachelor’s degree. in criminal justice. He attended the police academy at Robert Morris University, where he did a neighborhood profile project on Mt. Lebanon.
“I heard nothing bad from any of the business owners or any of the civilians that I talked to,” he said. That, along with a recommendation from the academy director, led him here.
“It makes me feel like I’m doing something good and that I have a purpose,” he said.
Cicco now volunteers as a lacrosse coach in Butler and hopes to someday become a school resource officer.
NEW FIREFIGHTER JOINS THE RANKS Each morning, Max Schoppen runs past the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Center and waves to the firefighters outside.
As a career firefighter in Dormont since 2018, he’s gotten to know many of Lebo’s firefighters rather well. Now, Schoppen, 33, is one of them, joining the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department in July as its latest career lieutenant.
“We always had such a close working relationship,” Schoppen said of Dormont and Mt. Lebanon’s fire departments. “I always thought [Mt. Lebanon] was an awesome place to work, full of opportunities.”
Schoppen, a 2009 graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, became a volunteer firefighter in Dormont in 2012 at his mom’s suggestion. She pointed out the FireVEST program, a partnership through the Allegheny County Fire Academy and Community College of Allegheny County that offers scholarships to volunteer firefighters looking to earn a degree.
“She said, ‘If you go up there and volunteer, you might like it, but you will also get an education out of it. And, it will cost you nothing.” Schoppen did just that and found his calling.
“That put my foot in the door,” he said. Schoppen likes that he is giving back to the community. “I just want to help people. That’s like the most generic way of saying it,” he said.
In Dormont, as a desk officer and apparatus operator, Schoppen focused on code enforcement and fire inspections. He’s interested in continuing that in Mt. Lebanon.
In his spare time, Schoppen is an avid runner and enjoys playing pick-up soccer. He also loves frequenting Mt. Lebanon businesses, specifically Sesame Inn, where you can find him once or twice a week.
“If you’re ever up in the area, stop by and say, ‘Hey!’ I’d love to get to know the community,” he said.
Schoppen lives with his wife, Kayla, and their three cats, Mille, Milo and Finne, their dog, Star and their fish, Rebecca.
A NEW FACE IN THE SCHOOLS Mt. Lebanon Police Cpl. Ty Kegarise recently joined the department’s community outreach unit. That means he is headed to the schools to teach safety classes this fall and will be present at community events. Kegarise joined the Mt. Lebanon Police Department in 2014 and served in the patrol services unit for nine years. He was promoted to corporal in July 2020. He also served as a captain in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. In Mt. Lebanon, Kegarise has served as a field training officer, school resource officer, crash reconstructionist, negotiator for the SHACOG Critical Incident Response Team and been a member of the honor guard.
BOO! TRICK OR TREAT If your little Batman or Wonder Woman are headed out into the neighborhood on a hunt for candy, the Mt. Lebanon Police Department has some important reminders. Be sure your youngster is wearing bright colors and nothing that restricts their vision, so they are always aware of their surroundings. Don’t forget a flashlight. You want drivers to be able to see you. A reminder for drivers: The Pumpkin Patch Parade is Saturday, October 28, at 11 a.m. Washington Road will be closed from Shady Drive to Lebanon Avenue for the festivities. Trick or Treat is from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, October 31.
DON’T BURN DOWN THE HOUSE Sure, candles inside a hollowed-out pumpkin give off a really cool effect. But the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department recommends that you trade in the flames for battery operated candles. If you’re set on using the real deal, make sure that you keep the flames away from anything flammable and don’t leave them unattended.
COOKING SAFETY STARTS WITH YOU! October is National Fire Safety Month and the National Fire Protection Association’s theme this year revolves around the kitchen. Cooking is the No. 1 cause of house fires in Mt. Lebanon and nationwide. The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department has compiled lots of information to help you stay safe in the kitchen. You can find more mtlebanon.org/departments/fire-department/for-residents/cooking-fire-safety.
LOOK UP LEBO Headed out for a run? Be sure to make the sidewalk your designated runway. The smooth asphalt might seem like a better option, but did you know that you are required by law to use a sidewalk if there is one available? The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code requires the mandatory use of available sidewalks and makes it illegal for a person to walk along an adjacent roadway. Be sure to look up, stay alert and stay on the sidewalk.
IT’S RAINING LEAVES Fall is in full swing and that means leaves are, well, falling everywhere. The Mt. Lebanon Police Department wants to remind you that leaves—especially when wet—can be slippery. Dry leaves can be a hazard as well. Don’t park your car on a pile of leaves. This could cause a blaze. And watch your kiddos when they’re playing in piles of leaves and make sure they stay off the street.
VOLUNTEERS WANTED Now’s your chance! Apply by mid-November if you’re interested in joining the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department as a volunteer. Training starts in January. Fill out a form at mtlebanon.org/departments/fire-department/recruitment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the station, 555 Washington Road, to partake.
PHEW. THAT STINKS. Curious what to do if you smell natural gas? Get outside quickly and safely and call 911. They’ll take it from there. While you’re getting out, do not turn on any lights or flip any switches. Even using the garage door opener could cause a spark. If you have a recurring issue with your hot water heater, call a licensed plumber to get it checked. This isn’t a project you want to tackle by yourself. Want to know more? The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department created a video to break it down for you.