Familiar face back at PSP barracks

January 04, 2002

Familiar face back at PSP barracks


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - In the 22 years since Lt. Lynn Hess was first stationed at the Pennsylvania State Police's Chambersburg barracks as a trooper, very little has changed.

It remains one of the busiest stations in the state, and many of the key players in law enforcement have stayed the same, said Hess, who was reassigned to Chambersburg in late November as station commander.

Hess replaced Lt. Tom Barkdoll, who became the head of criminal investigation in Harrisburg, Pa., for all of Troop H, which includes Franklin, Adams, Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties.

Troop H covers about 4,000 square miles and 1 million residents, he said.

As part of a series of lateral transfers, Hess was reassigned from his position as commander of the patrol section of Troop H to station commander, returning him to Chambersburg for the second time in his career.


Hess has served as station commander in two other police barracks, so the responsibilities are not new.

"It's more hands-on dealing with the issues and not as much paperwork," he said.

Since his transfer six weeks ago, Hess has devoted much of his time to completing preparations he started while patrol section commander for the annual farm show this month in Harrisburg.

"In large part I have not been able to jump in with both feet," he said.

That aside, Hess said the transition has been smooth.

"Tom (Barkdoll) had the station working effectively. There is not a whole lot of change necessary," he said.

He said he will continue to reach out to the community as Barkdoll did and regularly attend township meetings. He also will look into streamlining the barracks' computer programs.

Hess said he is not sure how new legislation to add 100 troopers statewide by November will affect Chambersburg.

The Bureau of Research and Development establishes the size of the complement at each station and will determine which ones will be assigned more troopers, Hess said.

But one way or another Chambersburg will benefit. Hess said vacancies at the station can only be filled as they occur, and because of the statewide complement cap there are always open positions.

A full complement for Chambersburg would include 76 officers and civilians, but it is at 71, Hess said.

Additional personnel will help the station with responding to its approximate 14,000 calls a year and will allow troopers to devote time to traffic enforcement, including patrolling major highways like Interstate 81 and U.S. 30., Hess said.

Hess will continue living in Halifax, Pa., with his wife Debbie, and their two children, Megan, 17, and Allison, 13.

He said his transfer to Franklin County was like coming home because its rural areas remind him of the beef cattle farm on which he grew up as well as the year he spent in Chambersburg in 1980.

That was Hess' second assignment following his 1978 acceptance into the Pennsylvania State Police.

Since then, Hess has been transferred around the state as a trooper, a station commander and in administration.

Local officials were upset to see Barkdoll go but have welcomed Hess to the community. They plan to keep up the close relationship between state police and the townships that Barkdoll forged, Hamilton Township Supervisor Randy Negley said.

"We have welcomed him to the area and said to feel free to call us," Negley said.

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