SANATOGA PA – Raymond D. Bechtel Jr. (above), who joined the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department as an officer in 1973 and rose though the ranks to become its chief for eight years, died Saturday (Sept. 5, 2015) “after succumbing to a long and heroic battle with cancer,” current Chief Michael Foltz announced Sunday (Sept. 6) in a status update item on the department’s Facebook page.
Funeral services will be handled by the Schumacher & Benner Funeral Home and Crematory, 359 King St., Pottstown, Foltz added. As of Monday (Sept. 7) at 6 a.m., no further details were available at its website.
“Chief Bechtel began serving the community as police officer with North Coventry Township (Chester County) in December 1970,” Foltz wrote. “He joined Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Department in October 1973. During his career with Lower Pottsgrove he served as patrol officer and detective. He was later promoted to sergeant, and from 1998 until 2006 he served as chief of police.”
“In all, his police career spanned over 36 years.”
Bechtel is credited as the originating negotiations team commander for the Chester-Montgomery Emergency Response Team (CMERT), of which Foltz himself is now commander. Bechtel also served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and was a volunteer firefighter and paramedic.
Bechtel leaves behind his wife, Jan, and two sons; Det. Sgt. Raymond Bechtel III of the Upper Providence Township Police Department; and Brian Bechtel, Foltz wrote.
Chief Bechtel photo from the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department via Facebook