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Chambersburg council divided with mayor, police chief on commercial vehicle inspection training

February 25, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Chambersburg Borough Council bucked the wishes of the town’s mayor and police chief, telling them Monday to not send two police officers to training for commercial vehicle inspections.

Mayor Pete Lagiovane said he had hoped to take advantage of free state training in May for two officers. He wanted to start routine inspections for things such as tail lamps, windshield wipers, tires and turn signals.

“It’s safe to say on any given day 5,000 trucks are using borough roads. ... Conducting commercial truck inspections is just another function of a modern police department, especially one (in a community) that straddles a major interstate,” Lagiovane said.

The borough council voted unanimously to take the stance the police officers should not undergo certification training, saying manpower should instead be focused on patrols. The council’s debate generated remarks from residents and businesspeople attending the council meeting.

Many public comments mirrored ones offered in recent weeks in the Borough of Mercersburg, where the mayor there canceled a truck inspection program amid outcry.

“I don’t think it’s necessary, said Dave Burkholder, of Molly Pitcher Highway.

Truck inspections that delay deliveries could have ripple effects on the local warehouse industry, he said.

Lagiovane said he expected inspections to each last less than an hour. Each certified officer would have been required to do 70 inspections a year to maintain certification.

Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said he was not convinced a problem exists with truck safety.

“Clearly what happened in Mercersburg did not work out too well. I think it needs a lot more study,” he said.

Police Chief David Arnold said he would have liked to model an inspection program off one in Washington Township, Pa. There, two certified officers issued 42 citations and 276 warnings in 2011 alone, he said.

“Our objective is safety,” Arnold said. “It’s not revenue generating.”

Chambersburg police already have an ally in the Pennsylvania State Police, who have troopers certified in truck inspections, Councilman Bradley Etter said.

Routine inspections irritating trucking companies could hurt ongoing efforts to create a natural gas fueling station in the borough, he said.

Additional vehicles carrying natural gas actually justify inspections because that load could present dangerous crashes, Lagiovane said.

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