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Waynesboro's new police chief say borough needs 20 officers

May 08, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - After Waynesboro's mayor ceremonially swore in the town's new police chief Wednesday, matters regarding police services ended up dominating much of the borough council's discussions at its regularly scheduled meeting.

Mark C. King, promoted recently to fill the vacancy created by retiring chief Ray Shultz, found himself justifying why his department needs 20 full-time officers.

"Why do we need 20 police in this town? It's getting very costly," Councilman Charles "Chip" McCammon said.

Police services account for almost 20 percent of the borough's approximately $4.5 million in annual expenditures, according to published reports.

McCammon pointed out that surrounding Washington Township, Pa., has a smaller police force for a significantly larger geographic area.

Statistics show that crimes occur at a sometimes higher rate in areas of dense population, King said.

"I'm not talking about statistics. I'm talking about common sense," McCammon said. "If they're getting along with 17 (officers), why can't we get along with 17?"

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McCammon was the dissenting voice when the council voted 5-1 to make reservations at the Harrisburg, Pa., police academy for up to three people that could fill vacancies on the force.

The council agreed to talk about the approved police complement during its review of drafts of the 2009 budget later this year.

"I don't think we can put a price on public safety," Councilman Jason Stains said.

Among changes pending for the police department are sending an officer to Waynesboro schools full time and new, 12-hour shifts.

The borough council applied for a three-year grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency on behalf of the Waynesboro Area School District. That grant, at $66,000 a year, would pay for the school resource officer's salary.

"It's my understanding the grant is approved, but they need clarification on an EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer) agreement," Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said Wednesday.

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