Pa. state police barrack leader gets reassigned

July 30, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After only seven months as station commander of the Pennsylvania State Police barrack in Chambersburg, Lt. Lynn Hess has been reassigned, with Sgt. Jim Brown named acting commander.

The shift became effective July 22, when Hess was transferred to the Bureau of Technology Services in Harrisburg, Pa., to assist with upgrading the Incident Information Management System, part of the police's computer network, Brown said.

Brown, 45, said he learned Monday he will serve as acting station commander until at least Aug. 30.

By then, the captain of Troop H, which includes Franklin County and five other south-central Pennsylvania counties, will decide whether to transfer a lieutenant from elsewhere in the troop or if Brown will continue as acting commander.


Hess' transfer is considered a temporary 18-month assignment, and he will remain on the roster at the Chambersburg barrack, Brown said.

"Absent any other circumstances, he would come back to Chambersburg," he said.

Brown, who has 22 years of service with the state police, came to Chambersburg four years ago to serve in the barrack's crime unit.

He oversees all criminal investigations at the station and supervises the 14-member crime unit.

Brown takes pride in his work and the work of his unit, whose diligence helped with the successful prosecution of Ronald Harshman, who was found guilty last year in the murder of a Greencastle man 16 years ago.

Brown said he always expects the highest standards from his officers.

"We have wonderful tools and techniques, but nothing replaces a good, old-fashioned competent investigation," Brown said.

He said he aims to be proactive.

"Unfortunately a lot of our work is reactive. You can't measure crimes prevented, but you can measure cases cleared," he said. "Often we will do a proactive measure if we notice an increase in crime activity in a certain geographical area by increasing patrols, surveillance and some less conventional crime prevention tactics."

Brown also had tough words for would-be criminals.

"If you commit a crime in Pennsylvania, especially in Franklin County, you never stop looking over your shoulder," he said. "There is no statute of limitations on homicide. If you murder someone in Pennsylvania, you can rest when you die."

This is not Brown's first stint as acting station commander.

Brown stepped in when former Chambersburg commander Lt. Tom Barkdoll was on vacation and at times in other stations.

He said he is content in his current position, "but rather than having no one here at the proverbial helm, I think it makes sense to have someone familiar with the operation here."

He said he expects work to continue as usual, and does not anticipate transferring the commander position will have an effect on the barrack or its service.

Brown started his career with the Pennsylvania State Police in Media, Pa. Before coming to Franklin County in 1998, he was the grant acquisition officer in Harrisburg, acquiring roughly $9 million for the state police by researching grant money available to state police, he said.

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