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Chambersburg police chief to retire

December 06, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After a quarter of a century heading the Chambersburg Police Department, Chief Michael T. DeFrank will retire next month.

"I think my 25 years here have been extremely positive," DeFrank said Tuesday. "We really have improved our department, not just in manpower, but in the way we perform our job ... and our relationship with the community."

"When I came here in 1983, we had a total of 22 (officers), which included me," DeFrank said.

With the addition of three new patrol positions this year, the department now has 34 full-time officers, he said.

DeFrank, 61, was the police chief in Northumberland, Pa., before coming to Chambersburg. Before that, he was a patrolman in Glen Olden, Pa., and Gladstone, Mo., he said.

"My plan all along was to retire and move south, but I'm going to put that on hold and stay around here for a while," said DeFrank, who has been in law enforcement for 40 years. The chief said he is exploring another employment opportunity.

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DeFrank informed Acting Mayor Samuel W. Worley of his retirement by letter Monday. The letter states his retirement is effective Jan. 16 and his last duty day will be Jan. 4.

Worley said he was on the borough council when DeFrank was interviewed for the job in 1982 and is here at the end of the chief's career, having been appointed mayor after the death of Mayor John Redding in May.

"He has been good for the borough and good for the police department," Worley said. "He is liked by his department, he's fair and he understands police work. I'm sorry to see him go, but at the same time I'm happy for him."

"It has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Chambersburg since Jan. 31, 1983," DeFrank wrote.

During that time, he wrote, there have been scores of changes and the borough has a state-of-the-art police department emulated elsewhere throughout the state.

Going back to 1803 when George Strite was the high constable of Chambersburg, only one other police chief has served longer than DeFrank, the chief noted in his retirement letter. H.S. Byers served as chief for 37 years and 11 months, DeFrank wrote.

DeFrank's departure leaves the department with two leadership vacancies. This week, Sgt. John H. Phillippy was named to fill the vacant police chief position in Greencastle, Pa. Phillippy, 46, who lives outside of Greencastle in Antrim Township, has been with Chambersburg for 26 years as a patrolman, detective, corporal and sergeant.

Worley said DeFrank's retirement and the process of finding his replacement will no doubt be the subject of discussion at Monday's council meeting.

The borough will also have a new mayor in January when Peter Lagiovane, winner of the Nov. 6, election, is sworn in. The mayor is responsible for overseeing the department.

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