Cocalico Police Board meets…minus West

By on April 29, 2015

 

When representatives from Adamstown, Denver, and East Cocalico sat at the police board meeting table April 23, no West Cocalico supervisors or their township manager attended the meeting.

Denver Council member Mike Gensemer remarked on the absence.

“We lost a tremendous person at the table in Nicole Shipton, resident representative from West Cocalico,” said Gensemer. “She’s here as a citizen (as were other West Cocalico citizens) and I hope she continues to follow this.”

Later in the meeting, Gensemer, as well as other Police Board members, said they’d welcome West Cocalico back to the table if they choose to return.

West Cocalico supervisors, in a March 17 letter to East Cocalico Township stated why they were withdrawing from the board. They contended that if East Cocalico was not willing to negotiate further about West’s request that East entirely fund the $2.1 million dollar pension liability until it is 90 percent funded, West Cocalico sSupervisors were rejecting all the liabilities in the draft police charter.

The action above removes West from the police board. It does not, at this time, remove the possibility of West Cocalico contracting East’s police department services, which is happening now.

Elaine Bowman, West Cocalico resident and also one of the organizers of Citizens for Cocalico Police (C4CP), addressed the board.

“I thank everyone at the table for all of your hard work,” she said. “I think I speak for a large number of citizens who would apologize for West’s withdrawal.”

Responding to a question after the meeting, Bowman said: “Public safety of the citizenry is the primary responsibility of any public official.”

Adamstown Council representative Cindy Schweitzer and citizen representative Ralph Vedder said that they could not speak for their municipality as to whether Adamstown officials were willing to accept all of the liabilities East would be bringing into the newly formed department.

When Schweitzer was asked by

Denver’s citizen representative John Weaver questioned Schweitzer.

“I’m asking you as a person whether you’re interested in moving forward?”

Her response was “that really has no bearing. I’m here at the direction of council.”

Noelle Fortna, police board chair and East Cocalico supervisor, said Adamstown Council at its next meeting is expected to indicate whether it is willing to move forward in forming a regional department using the draft charter. East Cocalico has requested a written response.

Fortna noted that Adamstown sent a response and did not answer the question.

Denver council has consistently favored having a say in how a regional department will run, the benefit of no buy-in cost, no wait time to have a vote on the board and continues to acknowledge that both the good (assets) and the bad (liabilities) would transfer into the new department under the proposed charter.

Blake Daub, Denver council president, commented, “I’d like to thank everyone at the table for all their time and hard work. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say: Cocalico School District is a great school district. We have one school district, one district justice, and it would be great to have one police department.”

Reached by phone after the meeting, Fortna expressed optimism.

“I do feel positive about the police board. I feel we have a good partner in Denver Borough,” she said.

Although there was discussion about convening following the next Adamstown Council meeting, no revision to the meeting schedule was made. The next scheduled police board meeting is Thursday, May 28, at 7 p.m., at the East Cocalico Municipal Office, 100 Hill Road, Denver.

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