West Cocalico helps library, drug task force

By on November 10, 2016
A big check from the West Cocalico supervisors to the Adamstown Area Library elicited some big smiles at the Nov. 3 township meeting. From left are Supervisor Leon Eby; Dr. Donald Klein of the Friends of the Adamstown Area Library; Supervisor Ray Burns; Jane Webber, Friends president; Gene Ferree, Friends vice president; Supervisor Chairman James J. Stoner, and Library Director Kathy Thren. Photo by Michele Walter Fry

A big check from the West Cocalico supervisors to the Adamstown Area Library elicited some big smiles at the Nov. 3 township meeting. From left are Supervisor Leon Eby; Dr. Donald Klein of the Friends of the Adamstown Area Library; Supervisor Ray Burns; Jane Webber, Friends president; Gene Ferree, Friends vice president; Supervisor Chairman James J. Stoner, and Library Director Kathy Thren. Photo by Michele Walter Fry

Drug dealers and users will have a harder time in West Cocalico because of soon-to-be undercover narcotics operations.

One thing undercover officers can do is form temporary relationships with drug dealers, something uniformed agents can’t.

“We won’t know how these people work or where they are,” said Supervisor Chairman James Stoner. “Neither does Ray (Burns, a retired East Cocalico police officer, who is a West Cocalico supervisor). “I don’t know how else to fight it.”

The township supervisors were notified by the Ephrata Police Department about additional funds needed to help fight drugs in the community. The department is contracted to provide coverage for West Cocalico

“Our communities have been experiencing an increase in the use of illegal drugs, a number of which have resulted fatal overdoses,” said Chief William Harvey. “The EPD is fully committed to addressing this problem and is considering participating in the county-wide drug task force managed through the district attorney’s office.

“Our previous experience is that by actively participating in the DTF, we will have access to timely tactical information which will better serve our communities.

“The police department leadership had discussed this concept in 2015 with the borough’s public safety committee but the project was tabled at that time due to the contract developments with Adamstown and West Cocalico.”

Ephrata Lt. Thomas Shumaker echoed Harvey’s sentiments.

“We tabled the project at that time so we could focus on police services up here,” said Shumaker.

East Cocalico Police, which served West Cocalico until last year, has not been involved in any undercover drug operations since “a handful of years ago.”

“The county has a county drug task force and our department does not currently have a member in there,” said Chief Terry Arment in a phone conversation.

The Ephrata department has qualified officers interested in the assignment, said Harvey.

“We are once again considering participating in this program in cooperation with all of our partner municipalities,” noted Harvey, which now includes West Cocalico and Adamstown.

“The borough (Ephrata) will pay for the officer’s base salary and overtime,” noted Harvey. “The DA’s office will reimburse the borough for 100 percent of the officer’s base salary and overtime.”

West Cocalico Township’s share will be $5,846 to cover the officer’s benefits. Burns made a motion to approve assigning an officer to the DTF for the next three years.

In other news, the 2017 budget should be adopted at the December meeting. Stoner presented the millage. Stoner put the budget at $2,552,895.

“And that’s a balanced budget with no tax increase,” he said.

In other news:

Three photographers were at the supervisors’ meeting to capture their gift to the Adamstown Area Library.

“We are very excited to donate $50,000 in good faith and good interest and our support for the library and community,” Stoner said.

*It was announced that West Cocalico Township Solicitor Larry Maier is “passing to someone else” the job to represent the township.

“We will be entertaining appointing a new firm at the beginning of the year,” said Stoner. “We are mailing out invitations to firms. We’re probably going to be looking for a bigger firm. It seems to be too big for one person.”

Resident, Steve Laudenslager, present at most meetings, offered advice to the supervisors.

“Based on things in the past couple years, I think it would be highly advisable to consider not using a firm that represents one of the other adjoining municipalities because I think that complicated some matters,” said Steve Laudenslager. “I think by not having duplicate solicitors of adjoining neighborhoods could take care of some issues.”

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