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Waynesboro officer's resignation delays township's hiring decision

December 21, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A divided Washington Township Board of Supervisors did not have to make a decision Thursday night about hiring a 16th officer to its police department.

With the resignation of officer Jason Taylor, the board was not divided in the decision to hire John Brady as the department's 15th officer.

During Monday's meeting, the board was split about whether to hire a 16th officer, with two supervisors voting to add an officer and two voting against the proposal. They voted to have a special meeting Thursday to make a decision because Supervisor C. Stewart McCleaf was absent Monday.

"Jason Taylor (is) resigning effective Jan. 21 for another job in the police field," Carroll Sturm, chairman of the board, said during Thursday's meeting. "We certainly wish him well, and he had fine contributions to the department."

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Police Chief Barry Keller said he received information Monday about Taylor's resignation, spoke with Taylor on Wednesday and received Taylor's letter of resignation Thursday.

"We lost a very experienced investigator," Keller said of Taylor. "Replacing him with somebody we have to send to the (police) academy - we're happy to have John come on with us (but it will take five months)."

Taylor was with the police department for the second time, beginning in October 2006, Keller said.

"With John at the academy, it will be 14 officers," Keller said. "It's not a lot of help while he's gone."

Brady, 27, of Antrim Township, officially will be hired Jan. 8 and will begin Jan. 15 at the police academy in Harrisburg, Pa. He is expected to graduate from the academy May 30.

If everything goes as expected and Brady graduates in May, he will return to the township's police department for 90 days of field training with a field training officer.

Brady could not be out on the road by himself until the end of August, Keller said.

Brady has experience as a military police officer in the U.S. Army and as contract security for the government's Missile Defense Agency.

"I'm very excited - it's my lifelong dream to become an officer," said Brady, a native of Lothian, Md., who moved to Antrim Township in April.

Brady's starting salary will be $40,290.66, Township Manager Mike Christopher said. The salary will be split between the township and the state while Brady is at the police academy, Supervisor Christopher Firme said.

The police department was hoping to get the board's approval to hire a 16th officer Thursday, then in January ask about hiring a 17th. Instead, the department likely will ask about hiring a 16th officer in January, Keller said.

With Taylor resigning, the new board coming in January will make the decision about whether to hire a 16th officer.

Stephen Kulla, who will be new to the board in January, said Monday that he would support a 16th police officer.

Elaine Gladhill, who also will be new to the board, said Thursday she would support a 16th officer, but not a 17th "unless the chief can give me reasons."

Supervisors Firme and John Gorman voted against hiring a 16th officer Monday, citing future financial concerns as the reason.

"We'll take a look and see what kind of monies we're dealing with," Firme said. "(If the market were thriving) I'd go for 16."

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