Gov. Tom Wolf has picked retired Major Tyree C. Blocker to be the next commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, after the governor’s first nominee failed to win the state Senate’s confirmation in June.
The nomination represents a homecoming for Blocker, a Chester County resident, who spent 30 years with the State Police. Blocker, a trailblazer as an African-American commander, ran the Bureau of Drug Law Enforcement when cocaine was flooding into Pennsylvania.
A black commissioner could send a strong signal to critics who have considered the State Police lacking in diversity. But Blocker, 62, also represents an insider at an agency with great pride in its traditions.
According to a press release from the Wolf administration, Blocker has worked as a consultant and with a fitness business since his retirement.
Wolf’s first pick for State Police commissioner was an outsider: Marcus Brown, who spent most of his career in Maryland. Brown prompted a backlash when he wore the Pennsylvania State Police uniform even though he didn’t come up through the ranks.
Blocker must still win the state Senate’s confirmation. The role of acting commissioner, however, is no different than that of confirmed commissioner. He is expected to start his new job Friday. The Wolf administration said Brown is staying on to help with the transition.