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Township seeks help in handling accidents

November 29, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A sharp increase in traffic accidents, most of them minor, has prompted the Washington Township Police Department to seek help with road patrols from the Pennsylvania State Police, said the acting township police chief, Sgt. Barry Keller.

Keller said his department, which is currently down by one officer, have investigated 216 traffic accidents so far this year compared to 188 for all of 1996.

"On one shift this month we investigated four accidents," he said.

Most of the accidents, 128 of them, involved more than one vehicle, according to a monthly police department report released for October 1997.

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None of the accidents was fatal, Keller said. Two people were killed on township roads in 1996, the report said.

"We're seeing an increase in the number of accidents and the state police are a resource that's available to us," Keller said.

The township police department currently has 10 full-time officers and five who work part time, Keller said.

He said most of the accidents stem from motorists following each other too close.

"They're not paying attention," he said.

The township's busiest roads, all main thoroughfares, are Pa. 16, Pa. 316 and Pa. 997, Keller said.

He said state police officials said they would assign troopers to patrol township roads as the schedule allows. "They're going to come when they can," he said.

A state police spokesman in Chambersburg, Pa., said the department assigns troopers to patrol problem areas on all major roads in Franklin County. He said there are no specific days or times when troopers will patrol in Washington Township.

State troopers have radar, a traffic control tool that is not available to police in municipalities, the spokesman said.

State officials fear that some municipalities would use radar speed traps as a money maker rather than a device to slow speeders down.

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