Pa. township launches probe of police

January 21, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNE HEIGHTS, Pa. - Washington Township Police Chief Kurt Braun said Tuesday he has "absolutely no idea" why the township supervisors have launched an investigation into the police department.

After a brief closed-door session at Monday night's meeting, the Washington Township Supervisors announced they had unanimously appointed John Lisko, a Waynesboro, Pa., attorney, as special investigative counsel "to look into a number of matters in the police department."

Supervisors said the investigation stems from information recently made available to them, but remained tight-lipped on the matter. Braun was not present during the closed-door meeting.


A statement released by the supervisors said Lisko "has been given the broadest of authority to make all reasonable and necessary inquiries, and to report his findings to the board of supervisors as soon as time permits. The entire staff of this township, uniformed and non-uniformed, have been directed to cooperate fully with Mr. Lisko in his investigation."

Lisko would not comment on the specifics of the investigation, but said he plans to start working on it Thursday. He said it could take several weeks for him to complete his investigation.

"I just want to make it clear that the Franklin County District Attorney's office is not involved in this," said Lisko, who is on the district attorney's staff. "This has nothing to do with that office. They hired me as a private attorney."

Lisko will be paid $100 an hour for the task. Although no cap has been placed on the amount the township will pay Lisko to investigate, Supervisor Quinter Baumgardner said, "we'll be watching it closely."

Baumgardner would not comment further on the matter.

Lisko also serves as a lawyer for the township's planning commission.

Braun's attorney, David S. Keller, said neither he nor Braun know what's being investigated. He said Lisko gave him a "courtesy call" Monday before the supervisors met to let him know he would be acting as an independent investigator.

"I can only say that we'll cooperate fully with the investigation," Keller said.

Washington Township Manager Michael Christopher said he couldn't comment on the investigation because it is a personnel matter. He emphasized the probe is not related to administrative charges he brought against Braun in December.

"This is an entirely different matter," Christopher said.

A public hearing has been set for Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the township office to discuss the administrative charges.

Braun, who has served as the township's police chief since June of 1983, has been accused of violating department rules and regulations. Christopher has administratively charged Braun with failing to post an updated work schedule in the manager's office; failing to notify his supervisor of absence; and sending a memo that Christopher has said displays conduct unbecoming a police officer.

The Washington Township Police Department has 11 full-time police officers and five part-time officers, a full-time clerk and two part-time clerical assistants, Braun said.

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