Bristol’s new top cop was a longtime chief in N.J.

Bristol Township has hired a new public safety director to oversee its police department, township manager Bill McCauley said in a statement Saturday, ending a years-long stretch without a permanent top cop.

Bob Coulton, formerly the police chief in Ewing Township, N.J., will start his new position Monday, McCauley said. Coulton will earn a salary of $115,000 per year.

Coulton served in Ewing for 30 years before retiring in 2013, McCauley said. He earned a master’s degree from Seton Hall University and had been chief of Ewing’s 67-member force for 14 years before stepping down.

"This is a tremendous hire for Bristol Township and our police department will excel under his leadership," McCauley said in a statement.

Bristol Township had been without a permanent chief for at least two years. During that time, two lieutenants served as interim chief.

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office had criticized McCauley’s appointment of the second interim chief, Ralph Johnson, saying in a report earlier this year that McCauley wanted a "yes man" in that position. The report also said McCauley had levied baseless allegations against officers he disliked to clear the path for Johnson’s ascension.

McCauley called the report "character assassination and a total hatchet job."

— Chris Palmer