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Morris leading in Pa. mayoral race

November 05, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Three-term Chambersburg Mayor Robert P. Morris, a Democrat, was leading Republican opponent Douglas Niemond by more than 350 votes in Tuesday's general election, according to unofficial totals available at press time.

The tally came with 28 of Franklin County's 75 precincts reporting results.

The mayoral race was the only contested race in the borough. The winner will serve a four-year term.

Morris has been a member of Chambersburg's borough government for 18 years, six as a council member and 12 as mayor.

Both candidates for mayor have focused on making improvements and modernizing the borough's police department in their campaigns for the office.

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Since Morris has been in office, four full-time police officers have been added to the department, along with a motorcycle unit, bicycle patrol, equestrian patrol, emergency response team and video cameras in the police cruisers. Two canine units also have been added, with a third planned for next year.

Despite the improvements, Chambersburg is ranked second in Pennsylvania for the highest violent crime rate per capita, according to statistics Niemond had quoted in his campaign.

According to the 1996 Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report, Chambersburg reported eight serious crimes per 100 residents - about 60 percent assaults - second only to the city of Reading, Pa., with 10 per 100 residents.

Making the mayor's job full time was also part of Niemond's campaign platform. He retired after more than 34 years as superintendent of recreation for the borough and four years as Franklin County commissioner.

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