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Greencastle Police Chief settling in

January 14, 2008|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, PA. ? Since starting his job as the new Greencastle Police Chief on Jan. 2, John H. Phillippy said he has been adjusting to his job, planning changes for the department and having a good time in the process.

Phillippy, 46, of Antrim Township, said his first week on the job has been great.

"I've been trying to get settled in, make some changes (and) get some things up to speed that maybe (had) been neglected for a while," said Phillippy, who has been a police officer for nearly 30 years. "I'm having fun."

Phillippy was sworn in Jan. 7 during the Greencastle Borough Council's reorganizational meeting.

"I will do everything in my power to provide the best law enforcement protection ... to the community of Greencastle," Phillippy said after being sworn in.

Housekeeping items have been on the top of Phillippy's to-do list and although he's done some patrolling, "I've got to get this place straight before I jump in with both feet," he said.

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The police department has three full-time officers, including Phillippy, and six part-time officers.

"We have job offers out to two additional full-time people," Phillippy said. "They just need to go through some certification issues."

Phillippy said the officers could start in March.

Phillippy assessing officers' skills

In the meantime, Phillippy has been getting to know the other officers.

"I'm trying to find out which officers are good in which areas," Phillippy said.

Phillippy said he'd like to see someone specialize in relationships with young people and also would like to have a field training officer to orient new police officers to the department. There is currently no field training officer.

"I want the police department to be a more interactive member of the community," Phillippy said. "(I want) to give the community the best police service we can."

Another of his goals is to improve some of the technology available, such as a way to submit accident reports online, rather than through the mail, and the use of JNET, a law enforcement Web site where criminal justice information can be shared among participating agencies in Pennsylvania.

Some of the challenges the department faces include having adequate resources and services for incidents, Phillippy said.

"Resource sharing is important (with surrounding police departments)," Phillippy said. "Unfortunately, small towns and small police departments aren't limited to small crimes."

Phillippy accepted the police chief position in early December after Greencastle had been without a chief since Sept. 5, when former police chief Peter Mozurkevich resigned.

Chief has family ties to area

Phillippy said he chose to apply because Greencastle is home.

"I've had family ties to Antrim Township from day one," said Phillippy, who moved to Antrim Township four years ago.

As for why he chose this profession, Phillippy said he has always wanted to be a police officer.

"There's no smart reason," Phillippy said. "Money's never been a great thing for cops, hours are not the greatest - it's definitely a calling."

Phillippy grew up just outside Hagerstown and attended North Hagerstown High School. After high school, he got his associate's degree in criminal justice from Hagerstown Junior College. His first police job was at the Washington County Sheriff's Department, where he started as a cadet while still in college and later became a correctional officer. Phillippy worked there for three years.

Phillippy worked for the Chambersburg Police Department for a little more than 25 years, where he served as a patrolman, detective, corporal and sergeant.

What he likes about being a police officer is the variety.

"You're not doing one thing day in, day out," Phillippy said. "You get to get out on the street and meet all kinds of people (and) you get the opportunity to help people."

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