Township in no hurry to replace ousted chief

September 07, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - It's been two months since Kurt E. Braun, longtime Washington Township police chief, was ousted from his job, but township officials seem to be in no hurry to hire a permanent replacement.

Township Manager Michael Christopher said it could be months before a search begins for a successor to Braun. Meanwhile, Christopher said, the 14-member department is being supervised temporarily by Sgt. Barry Keller. Keller is being assisted with the department's paperwork by Cpl. Vernon Ashway, Christopher said.

"We're going to let the matter cool off and see what the department can do with Keller in charge," Christopher said. "We'll evaluate it in a couple of months and see what happens when we look at the 1998 budget. We're in a holding pattern."


Braun was fired July 6.

Braun, 57, had been the subject of a months-long investigation by a private attorney hired earlier in February by the supervisors to check into irregularities in the department. The attorney, John Lisko of Waynesboro, charged the township more than $5,000 to conduct his investigation, which culminated with 45 charges against Braun.

The charges were never given to Braun nor have they ever been made public.

Braun met with Christopher and the supervisors at their July 6 meeting and was told to either resign or face the charges stemming from Lisko's investigation. He walked out that night. He was given severance pay through the end of this month.

Braun, who was the department's chief for 14 years, said at the time that it wasn't the charges that forced him out, but the department's working environment and the lack of confidence from his officers in his ability to run the department.

Since then Braun has been working part-time around the state conducting regional management studies and advising small police departments about consolidation and other police matters.

There has been some talk of a consolidated police department that could include Washington Township with the boroughs of Waynesboro and Greencastle, which have departments. The move is being pushed by Gov. Tom Ridge to force towns that are relying solely on state police for protection to either pay more in state taxes or form regional police departments.

"I guess it's kind of ironic that I'm doing regional feasibility studies for other police departments. It's wonderful, but it's not as satisfying as police work and it's only part-time. I'm using my expertise, but I'm not crazy about all the traveling. I'd like to find something full-time," he said.

Braun said he has no plans to seek legal redress against the township supervisors. "I don't want to burn any bridges," he said.

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