Shumaker named Interim Ephrata Police Chief

By on October 9, 2019

Ephrata’s Borough Council on Monday focused on both a farewell and a welcome in the borough police department.

Chief William Harvey, 63, who took the reins more than 10 years ago, has retired with his wife to Virginia, his home state.

Taking over as Interim Police Chief is Lt. Thomas Shumaker, 53, a veteran officer who has served the Ephrata Police Department for 27 years.

“My duties haven’t changed a lot,” Shumaker said. “I’ve picked up some administrative duties that were done by Chief Harvey, I’m attending more meetings with municipal officials and with the partner municipalities to which we provide police services.”

Shumaker was interim chief from August 2007 until February 2009, prior to Harvey’s arrival.

Taking over as Interim Ephrata Police Chief is Lt. Thomas Shumaker, 53, a veteran officer who has served the Ephrata Police Department for 27 years.

He most recently served as the lieutenant of the department’s support services group.

For the first time in a decade, Chief Harvey was not at the council meeting to update the members on police business. His last day on the job for Ephrata was Oct.4.

The Council unanimously accepted his resignation letter and added their fond wishes to the police chief who has become a respected leader in the community over the years.

“I’d like to offer my best wishes to Chief Harvey,” said Councilman Ricky Ressler. “It was my privilege to work with him.”

“Chief Harvey has filled that position for as long as I’ve been here (on council),” said Councilman Thomas Reinhold. “He was top notch and he’ll succeed in anything he does.”

The Council welcomed Shumaker in his new role.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Shumaker said. “I’ve done it before and I’ll be glad to do it again.”

Shumaker served as interim police chief from August of 2007 until February of 2009, after Chief Steven Annibali left the force and until Chief William Harvey was hired.

A resident of Lititz, married with a family, Shumaker grew up in Carlisle and is a graduate of Cumberland Valley High School.

When beginning his law enforcement career, Shumaker said he considered positions in Dauphin, York, and Lancaster counties, but especially liked what he found with the Ephrata community.

Shumaker rose through the ranks in Ephrata’s Police Department, going from a sergeant to a lieutenant. He has also served as Patrol Commander.

Although Shumaker is the interim chief, he says his rank is still lieutenant, and that’s how he may be addressed.

Shumaker has added to his police education through the years, enabling him to specialize in a number of areas, including accident reconstruction, as a crime scene/forensic specialist, evidence custodian, and field training officer.

Lt. Thomas Shumaker (left).

For several years, Shumaker also served as supervisor of the Ephrata Investigation Unit.

While the type of crimes in the borough has been fairly consistent over the years, policing itself has changed somewhat, Shumaker said.

Technologic advances are evident, but the perception of police work has changed, too, Shumaker said.

Whether it’s the danger associated with the job, the long hours, or the sometimes thankless duties, fewer people are clamoring to be in law enforcement, he said.

“The biggest difference is that the climate has changed,” Shumaker said. “Recruiting is a lot more difficult than it was ten or 15 years ago.”

That may be due to a combination of factors, including the danger involved, media coverage, and politics, he said.

But Shumaker is hoping for an upturn in his chosen profession, as young people look for a career that helps others.

“I’m happy to continue serving the Ephrata area community,” Shumaker said.

Borough officials will be holding a dinner with Chief Harvey as the guest of honor in gratitude for his long-term service to the borough.

A private donor will be paying for the event.

“I’d like to give a big thank you to Chief Harvey for his service and I’m looking forward to working with interim Chief Shumaker,” said Councilman Greg Zimmerman.

“I’d also like to welcome Lt. Shumaker in his new role,” Reinhold said.

Marylouise Sholly is a freelance feature writer for The Ephrata Review. She welcomes your comments and questions at weezsholly@verizon.net. 

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