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Regional police force proposal resurfaces

January 19, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, PA.- Some Greencastle officials say they are committed to reviewing the possibility of establishing a regional police force after two full-time borough police officers have resigned in as many months.

The police force would serve Greencastle and neighboring Antrim Township, which currently relies on the services of Pennsylvania State Police.

"It appears that both (Greencastle and Antrim Township) are again interested in discussions of this subject," Greencastle Mayor Robert E. Eberly said in a press release.

"It's something that's been talked about for some time," said Charles Eckstine, president of the Greencastle Borough Council. "We're going to be having a meeting about that here in the near future."

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The resignation of Officer Travis Crouse, effective Jan. 28, leaves the Greencastle Police Department with just its chief, one full-time officer and six part-timers, according to Ken Myers, borough manager.

Eckstine thinks that residents still can depend on efficient police response.

"We have quite a number of officers when you consider the population of Greencastle," Eckstine said.

In 2000, the population of Greencastle was 3,722 and Antrim Township was 12,504, according to the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce's Web site.

Eckstine said there has been good response to recent advertisements for part-time officers, and two more soon might be hired.

"We can fill the part time a lot more quickly than the full time," Eckstine said.

Myers said Greencastle's 2006 budget allots $417,300 for police service and is based on a complement of the chief and three full-time officers.

Money also is built in for part-time pay, he said.

Greencastle started 2005 with a full complement, but Terry Sanders retired from the chief's post in March of that year. Officer Craig Wagner was acting chief until Peter Mozurkevich was hired in October. The new chief came from a department in Pine Grove, Pa.

"We wanted him to be a working chief," said Eckstine, explaining that Mozurkevich was hired to cover foot patrols and spend less time behind a desk.

He said the station soon will be staffed with a secretary during regular business hours. Now, the headquarters on North Washington Street often is closed to the public.

Wagner resigned in late December.

"These resignations have raised many questions in regards to their replacement or how the borough will cover the shifts," Eberly said. "The chief has assured us that he will do the very best he can with the part-time officers during this time."

Mozurkevich could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Eberly referenced a letter from June 2005 that requested a committee be formed to study regional police service.

"There was no further action taken on this by the Borough Council in the year 2005," Eberly said. "It is my recommendation that ... (they) discuss possible ways in which the two governments can work together."

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