Police coverage dominates Denver Council meeting

By on September 11, 2013

By:

ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent

, Staff Writer

Denver residents are passionate about maintaining their police coverage with East Cocalico Police Department.

Two dozen residents vied for floor time, speaking for two hours on the quick response of police when needed, their consistent community patrol presence, and their attendance at school events during Denver Council’s Aug. 26 meeting. Several residents mentioned not jeopardizing people’s lives by reducing coverage.

"Just last week when a bank teller in Denver called police for a person attempting to pass a counterfeit check, first one police officer, then almost immediately a second one arrived," said Councilman, Mike Gensemer, noting the importance of response time. "Using their patrol cars, they were able to detain the suspect and take him in for questioning by a detective, who later charged the man. Meanwhile both officers could return to their beats while the detective did his work."

"Cost savings, which minimizes services, is not acceptable," read a letter from Denver businessman and funeral director, Matthew Stradling.

Speakers asked council not to rush making a decision to remain or leave East Cocalico Police for Northern Lancaster Regional Police Department, and to work it out using the vehicle of a representative police board, who held its organizational meeting Aug. 29.

"Denver residents cannot continue to pay the kind of increases in police costs that we’ve been paying. It’s just not possible," said Denver resident and borough treasurer, Barbara Artz, who spoke about the financial side of the issue.

"We can save $200,000 next year (using the financial numbers from Northern Lancaster Regional Police Force to provide Denver police service) based on Denver’s 2013 East Cocalico Police costs," Borough manager, Mike Hession said. This savings doesn’t include the $94,000 one-time buy-in cost if Denver joins Northern Police Department.

"So I think that our council needs a clear message from East Cocalico Township as to what impact our recommendations on this police board will have. And we did not get an answer to that question from the East Cocalico supervisors at the August meeting in Stevens," said Hession.

"Denver paid for a fire services study," Hession continued. "It showed that we gave a total of $47,000 to the fire department last year. We should be giving about $70,000 more for capital expenses. We have health insurance going up, infrastructure improvements needed, and we have given employees … little raises. Should we fund the police and not fund the fire company, infrastructure improvements, and other items?"

"Let’s give the police board a chance," said Gensemer. "It hasn’t even met yet."

East Cocalico supervisors indicated at the Stevens meeting in August that they are willing to change from contractual police coverage to a regional force involving themselves and Adamstown, Denver and West Cocalico.

"We only got to this point because we got a proposed contract from East Cocalico that our solicitor said we should not sign and we went looking for alternative police coverage," said Rodney Redcay, acting chairman of the meeting. "That’s why we’re looking at these numbers from Northern."

Representing Denver Borough on the regional police board is Walter Fink and Mike Gensemer.

Moving on to other business, Denver Council:

Authorized Denver Lions Club sponsoring their annual Denver Community Porch Sale on Sept. 7.

Approved donating one 2014 Denver Community Pool family membership to the Adamstown Area Library "Bucks for Books" Dinner and Auction.

Approved the Cocalico Education Foundation’s Screamin’ Eagle 5K Race and One Mile Run/Walk on Sept. 28 contingent upon coordination with Denver Fire Police.

More DENVER, page A10

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