Denver council disappointed by lack of cooperation

By on November 28, 2018

Denver council at their Nov. 26 meeting expressed dismay over West Cocalico Township supervisors and Adamstown Borough council’s correspondence indicating that although they are in favor of Cocalico School District instituting a School Resource Officer (SRO) program, they are not willing for pay their fair share.

The school district was awarded a safe schools grant for $60,000 for the 2018-2019 school year and $30,000 for 2019-2020.

Denver council lobbied for a school resource officer for several years. With a grant to help start the program, several councilmen expressed that it’s the ideal time to begin. Some council members expressed concern that if the school board doesn’t see buy-in by every Cocalico municipality, they could decide to not proceed with the program.

The SRO proposal calls for the school to fund half of the total annual cost of approximately $150,000 and the four municipalities — Adamstown, Denver, East Cocalico and West Cocalico — to fund the remainder based on the percentage of students enrolled from each municipality. Denver Council previously approved their fair share, $15,517.

The fair share for East Cocalico is $31,414.33, West Cocalico $21,121.09, and Adamstown $6,686.46.

East Cocalico Police, who also cover Denver Borough since they contract coverage from them, have been responding to one hundred percent of the middle school and high school police calls since those buildings are in Denver Borough. East Cocalico Chief Darrick Keppley plans to start the SRO program in January.

At a recent regional leaders meeting, where all four Cocalico municipalities expressed support for an SRO, Cocalico assistant superintendent, Dr. Nathan VanDeusen, said he was surprised how the numbers of police calls have increased exponentially over the last few years. At that same meeting, Ephrata Police Lt. Tom Shumaker spoke about positive changes an SRO brings to the school climate.

Adamstown and West Cocalico, who contract police service from Ephrata Borough, currently incur no cost for school district calls involving students from their municipalities.

“They (Adamstown and West Cocalico) want to be free riders,” said councilman Todd Stewart.

“Adamstown is quibbling over $6,000 for the school safety of their children?” said councilman Jason South.

Junior council member Zoe Smith, who has voice and no vote, shared that students are positive about having an SRO. She suggested that students could be helpful as public advocates for the SRO program.

Council will discuss this topic with the full council at the next meeting, Dec. 10. Council members Chris Flory and Matt Stover, as well as Mayor Rod Redcay were absent.

In other business:
• George Whetsel, director of Public Works, reported 60 new veteran’s banners were hung downtown by Nov. 11. They’ll remain for two years, at which time they’ll be returned to the donors.

• Herbein and Company, Inc. was appointed as 2019 independent auditor to audit the borough’s 2018 financial records for $11,750.

• Central PA Blood Bank will hold a blood drive Dec. 18 from 3 to 7 p.m. Registration will be in the borough council meeting room and blood will be drawn in the bloodmobile in the adjacent parking lot.
Alice Hummer is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.


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