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Greencastle council hires fourth full-time police officer

September 06, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Greencastle Borough Council finally balanced the seesaw between cost savings and police services Tuesday when it hired its fourth and final full-time police officer.

The council long preferred the cost savings of a part-time police force, but in 2007 decided to invest in solving shortfalls in police services by balancing coverage between the more versatile full-time officers and less expensive part-time officers.

On Tuesday, the council voted to promote Greg Pritchard from part time to full time. His promotion filled the final full-time slot in the budget for 2008, giving Greencastle four full-time officers, five part-time officers and one chief.

Mayor Robert Eberly said before the shift among council, Greencastle dealt with gaps in coverage and issues of overtime pay.

He said the borough struggled to keep the hours of its part-time officers at less than 40 per week and in late summer 2007 had to expand and allow more overtime pay for officers.

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Appearances in court and last-minute cases were draining the available officers and many were putting in more hours than they preferred.

At the same time, it was less than what the borough needed.

Chief John Phillippy said he understood that before he was hired in January, the borough struggled to cover all shifts and often had to rely on Pennsylvania State Police to provide coverage.

Having five total full-time officers, counting Phillippy, has solved many of the problems about which citizens used to call Eberly. But it has come at a higher price.

The four full-time officers work 43 hours per week for about $17 per hour, compared to the part-time officers, who work up to 40 hours per week for about $15 per hour.

While the pay for full-time officers is higher and includes benefits, vacation and sick pay, Eberly said he feels the flexibility and availability has made the investment worthwhile.

"This is what we talked about and with five full time, including the chief, we have a really good schedule of services," Eberly said. "I am hardly getting any calls of complaint now."

The council does not plan to hire any additional full-time officers now.

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