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Township police release stats

February 08, 1999

BY RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- There were no murders in 1998, burglaries were down, theft was up, two people died on township roads and fewer drivers were stopped for DUI, according to the Washington Township Police Department's activities report for the year.

Sgt. Barry Keller, who has led the department as interim head since July, 1997 said the number of motor vehicle accidents on the township's 100 miles of roads was down from 261 in 1997 to 234 last year. There were no fatalities in 1997, but two marred the record in 1998.

While cases involving the sale of drugs took a dive last year, from 14 cases to three, those involving simple possession doubled in 1998 from eight to 16. Most of the possession cases were for small amounts of marijuana and crack cocaine, Keller said.

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He said there were more drug arrests in 1998 because officers were more diligent in their searches during investigations of other crimes.

Heroin too is making inroads into the community, he said. Officers from Washington Township serve on the Franklin County Drug Task Force and on a joint drug task force with the Borough of Waynesboro Police Department.

State law bans townships and boroughs from using radar to catch speeders for fear it will be used to generate income, Keller said. Washington Township police officers catch speeders with chronometers and VASCAR, Keller said. Also, he said, state police come into the township throughout the year to help out with their radar, he said.

The number of drunken driving arrests dropped significantly last year, from 106 in 1997 to 79 in 1998. "We're hoping that people are getting the message, " Keller said.

The department has 10 full-time and five part-time officers. It's full complement is 11 full-time officers. Keller said the township is seeking applicants to fill the 11th slot.

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