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Three townships, 22 officers Regional police take ceremonial oath
By: JACQUELINE WATSON Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
Twenty-two police officers in one room; that doesn’t happen often.
While the new Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department — representing Warwick, Penn and Clay townships — has been up and running since Christmas, the public oath of office ceremony wasn’t held until Feb. 9, during the department’s monthly meeting at headquarters in Clay Township. Judge Joseph Madenspacher officiated.
"I don’t know about everybody else, but I feel pretty safe right now," Madenspacher said. "It is the police that are not just protecting us, but basically creating order where there would otherwise be lawlessness and anarchy."
Friends and family, along with Aiko from the K-9 unit, were in attendance.
"I know that there’s been a lot of patience required on everyone’s part in the last few months, with the uncertainties of transition and the acceptance of change with transition," said Chief David Steffen, "and I thank all of you for your patience, tolerance and the good work that everybody here does."
After a break, the regular portion of the meeting began with Steffen’s report on the first official month of the regionalized force.
Before regionalization was finalized, the portion of services that would be needed by each participating municipality was estimated into percentages, with Warwick at the top, followed by Penn and then Clay. The financial responsibility by taxpayers from each municipality was calculated accordingly.
Referring to these percentages, Steffen was pleased to inform the board that during January the police department was within five percent of estimates. The following percentages represent the anticipated service distribution at the end of the year:
Warwick — 45 percent
Penn — 41 percent
Clay — 14 percent
He added that no municipality will end up cheated. Throughout the year, the percentages of time spent will vary and be adjusted.
"At the end of the day, the municipalities are insured of getting the level of service that they paid for," he said.
Another issue that Steffen addressed was the handling of situations requiring towing.
The NLCRPD is trying to handle the distribution of towing business generated by the police department fairly between various towing vendors. Steffen stated his preference for a blind rotation system. The board of police commissioners agreed.
"I commend David for doing his due diligence, and I believe he’s correct, for the integrity of the police department," said David Sarley, vice-chair of the board. "The blind situation is good."
Sarley feels that even with a good system, there would still be problems.
"There are going to be times that you get complaints," he said.
"I do not wish to have any kind of tarnish put upon integrity for the sake of a tow truck," Steffen added. "It’s just not worth it."
Such details are all part of the growing pains of a new department.
Regional officers who were sworn in last week include: Sgt. William Leighty, Officer Tod Neifert, Sgt. Richard Rhinier, Officer Donald Brady, Officer Delene Brown, Officer Theresa Stauffer, Officer Matthew Hinkle, K-9 Officer Gary Garrison, Officer Derek Oleszczuk, Detective Eric Zimmerman, Officer Seth Hulshizer, Officer Curtis Ochs, Officer Adam Webber, Officer David Burdis, Officer Timothy Heuston, Sgt. Joshua Kilgore, Officer Samuel DaBella, Officer Matthew Klinger, Officer Matthew Speicher, Sgt. George Pappas Sgt. Rodney King , Officer Adam Webb, Officer Matthew Brindley and Chief Steffen. More POLICE, page A16