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Chief Buracker leaving his post in Harpers Ferry

February 06, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Donald Buracker, a nearly 20-year department veteran, is stepping down as police chief in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
Richard F. Belisle

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — Harpers Ferry will soon be getting a new police chief to replace Donald Buracker, a nearly 20-year department veteran.

Buracker said he was the youngest police officer in West Virginia to be named a department chief in 2000. He was 32.

He leaves the Harpers Ferry post Saturday to take a job as a special agent for CSX Corp.

“My father always told me not to let an good opportunity pass,” he said. “This new job offers better pay and benefits. I have to look out for my family.”

Special agents investigate crimes on or against railroad property, protect railroad workers, contractors, customers and the public whenever they’re on CSX property, check on and report safety issues and cooperate with other law-enforcement agencies, Buracker said.

His territory will include Washington, Frederick and Allegany counties in Maryland, Frederick County, Va., Franklin County, Pa., and Morgan, Jefferson and Berkeley counties in West Virginia, he said. He will work out of an office n Brunswick, Md.

CSX, based in Jacksonville, Fla., covers 23 eastern states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces.

Buracker said when he was hired to work for the Harpers Ferry Police Department in 1991, he was one of two patrolmen, plus the chief.

“We had two cruisers, no automatic weapons, we used typewriters and had no computers,” he said. “Our reports were handwritten. There have been many changes in 20 years as the department modernized.”

Today the police force has four full-time officers, the chief and two officers who work part time when needed.

The Harpers Ferry Police Department patrols that town and adjacent Bolivar. Its jurisdiction in town ends in the parts of Harpers Ferry that lie within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. National Park Service Police take over there.

The department has an annual budget of $477,000, including $81,000 from the National Park Service and $222,000 from Bolivar.

In 2009 and 2010, the department made 196 overall arrests, about 75 percent of which were drug-related, including heroin, Buracker said.

He said he will miss the people and officers with whom he works, and those in the communities the department serves.

“It’s been a wonderful experience working here. I did not decide this lightly,” he said.

“We wish him well in his new pursuits,” said Harpers Ferry Mayor Jim Addy.

The Harpers Ferry Town Council will meet tonight to discuss appointing an interim police chief until a permanent replacement for Buracker can be hired.

Buracker earns around $50,000 a year as chief, Addy said.

Addy said he will not seek re-election to another term in the upcoming June 14 town elections. When his current term expires, it will end a 10-year stint as mayor.

“I’m retiring,” he said.

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