Municipal officials all present for Cocalico Regional Leaders meeting

By on November 4, 2015

 

Municipal leaders from Adamstown, Denver, West Cocalico, and East Cocalico met Tuesday, Oct. 27, to update one another on individual municipal happenings and to hear plans for the sale of the jointly owned 6.6-acre tract of land at 1975 N. Reading Road, which could be sold by East Cocalico Nov. 19th by sealed bid.

East Cocalico Township supervisors retain the right to reject any and all bids should the prices offered not meet expectations of a fair market price range. The land, originally part of the larger tract of land sold to Dentech Inc., was given back to East Cocalico by Dentech for use by the four Cocalico municipalities.

Many ideas were discussed over the last year for its use. They ranged from a new regional police station or substation to a library. Consensus was it would be best financially to sell the land.

The regional police idea died when Adamstown and West Cocalico chose to secure police coverage from Ephrata Borough beginning in January. Denver, while remaining with East Cocalico Police, opted to contract for coverage instead of pursuing, for the time, regionalization.

All officials said they wished a Cocalico School District representative had been present to discuss the school resource officer position being strongly suggested by the municipalities. The municipal officers believe an SRO can help curtail potential student conflicts and other situations prior them developing into a full-fledged incident by good rapport and trust gained with students.

The school district has never said the concept is not worthwhile. Officials have considered the cost and are financially prudent, attempting to put expenditures into direct instructional services for students.

They are also considering how the environment is altered with a uniformed police officer as part of the campus.

With the East Cocalico Police Department “community policing” model, police already have a depth of knowledge of many students and families in the school community. With the many events on campus, the police have a presence and level of acceptance.

Police Chief George Beever confirmed that three officers were furloughed and “hopefully will land on their feet. The three officers applied to Ephrata Borough Police Department, as well as one other veteran officer.”

There was no answer to how police calls will be handled now that East Cocalico and Ephrata Borough patrol parts of the Cocalico School District.

Beever said he assumed when the high school needs the police that East Cocalico will respond. The suggestion was made to ask the school about their ideas. Adamstown Elementary is the only building located in the Ephrata Borough-contracted jurisdiction area.

Formerly, when all four municipalities in the Cocalico School District were covered by East Cocalico, school calls were shared proportionately.

The meeting ended with a round of applause for 18 years of public service by West Cocalico Supervisor Chairman Jacque Smith.

“I’ve been dealing with the public since I’ve been 18 years old….I turned 80 years old on Oct. 7,” he said. “It’s time for me to retire. I wish you all well.”

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