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Borough police department is outgrowing space

July 31, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Sometime later this summer or in early fall, parts of the Waynesboro Police Department will move upstairs in the Borough Hall into small offices being vacated by Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz.

It's only a stopgap move for a police department that has long since outgrown its first-floor quarters.

It also will mean that Chief Ray Shultz will have a private office. He and his secretary now share the same office. The new space upstairs also will mean private office space for the department's criminal investigator.

The department has a complement of 20 officers. There is one vacancy and one member is still in the police academy.

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Waynesboro Mayor Louis M. Barlup Jr. nibbled at the problem of police department space issues at Wednesday's Borough Council meeting when he suggested the council begin thinking about applying for grants for a new building for the force.

"The police department has been cramped for years," Barlup said. "They're desperate for more space."

He emphasized that the move upstairs will provide only temporary relief.

Mayors supervise police departments in Pennsylvania.

Last year, said Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger, the borough tried to get money through U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and U.S. Rep. William Shuster, R-9th. "We got $100,000 for equipment," Hamberger said .

He said the borough might try again by combining emergency services needs with space needs of the police department.

One grant source is the Homeland Security agency, although Hamberger said he's not sure that source is still available.

"The big cities are screaming that the small towns, where the threat isn't, are getting too much money," he said. "The last time we looked for money for buildings it wasn't there, but things change year to year."

While Shultz and Barlup agree that a new police building is the way to go, they don't exactly agree on where it should be. Each has his preference, although each said he could live with the other's choice.

Shultz favors construction of a new building on borough-owned land adjacent to the borough's maintenance center near the intersection of Clayton Avenue and Ninth Street.

A new building there would be modern, secure and expandable, he said.

Barlup has his eye on the Pennsylvania National Guard building at 410 N. Grant St. The building is to be vacated in 2007 when Waynesboro's Guard unit and one in Gettysburg, Pa., move into a new building in South Mountain, Pa.

If the borough gets the armory building cheap enough, say for $1, the council might be receptive to the idea, Barlup said.

There also has been talk, especially among Washington Township officials, of combining the Waynesboro and Washington Township police departments.

"It's been discussed for years," Washington Township Manager Michael Christopher said.

"It offers economies of scale and tax savings," he said. "Both communities are growing."

Last week Chief Barry Keller of the Washington Township Police Department asked the township supervisors for money to add a 14th police officer. "The chief is trying to keep ahead of the growth demand," Christopher said.

The armory would be a choice location, he said. Although it's in the borough it's close to the township line. "It wouldn't be a problem for us to be in the borough," he said.

The township and borough could partner on grant applications with a combined police department, Christopher said.

The idea of joining the departments is not high on the borough's agenda.

"It has merit, but it would have political problems," Shultz said. "Whose taxes would pay for it?"

Shippensburg Borough and Shippensburg Township formed a joint department called the Cumberland Valley Regional Police Department. "It failed," Barlup said.

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