SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD
August 8, 2018 – 7:00 PM
Meeting called to order by Chairman M. Bollinger at 7:00 pm. The following were in attendance:
- Shearer – N. Codorus Twp.
- Bollinger, T. Frock – Heidelberg Twp.
- Miller – Manheim Twp.
- Hilt, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough
- Bean – Chief
- Nickell – Police Administrator
- Tilley – Solicitor
PUBLIC COMMENT: No public was in attendance.
MINUTES: Review of the minutes of July 11, 2018. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attachment A) Treasurer’s Report was presented. V. Nickell noted that the two transfers from the Reserve Fund have now been reimbursed ($36,000; $95,000). B. Hilt asked what the Men’s Magazine was for. V. Nickell replied that we subscribe to two health magazines, one for men and one for women, in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles to the officers. R. Shearer had a question about last month’s Stock & Leader invoice that was answered to his satisfaction. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
The crime stats for July were reviewed. There were 409 calls for service and 92 traffic stops. Traffic statistics are down due to the department being down two officers. There was a lengthy discussion regarding the investigation of the shooting incident that occurred May 30th at the Santander Bank in Spring Grove Borough, with the following points being made:
- The officer involved in the shooting is still on paid administrative leave.
- Chief is still awaiting information from the State Police investigation.
- This is a three-fold investigation – criminal, internal, civil.
- Shearer stated that the DA’s office doesn’t have any say over whether an officer should be on administrative leave – he recently read of two departments that allowed officers to return to work even though the investigations aren’t complete (York City and PSP Northern Regional).
- Chief stated that it is common practice for an officer to be on paid administrative leave while a criminal investigation is on-going. You can’t have an officer working the street with the possibility of criminal charges being made.
- Should the officer be using sick leave, now that surgery has been performed? After much discussion, W. Tilley stated no.
- Chief is going to contact York City and PSP Northern Regional to get the specifics of why these officers were permitted to return to work.
There were 29 criminal charges filed on 18 people in July. Fourteen of these charges were in Manheim Township. The department responded to 29 ambulance calls during the month. Chief thinks it is important for the Board to have an idea of what an “ambulance call” can entail, as seeing a statistic doesn’t give a realistic view of what the officers actually do. He provided detail of two of the ambulance calls as follows:
- Spring Grove Borough – a 45 year old male was not breathing (drug history). The officer arrived before the medics and was able to revive him with two doses of Narcan.
- Manheim Township – a 46 year old male, not breathing, son was administering CPR. Officers arrived before medics, hooked-up the AED (defibrillator) on the patient, medics then arrived and took over.
The officers saved the lives of two residents within a 24 hour time period.
Chief provided an update regarding a press release he had put out regarding a series of thefts in Manheim Township. On July 16th we received a call from a resident of Manheim Township, reporting someone was going through some packages that were delivered at the end of her driveway. The suspect fled the scene prior to the arrival of the officers, but they remained in the area. About 45 minutes later they spotted the suspect along the wood line at Manheim and Lineboro roads. The officers apprehended him and discovered he had video games, a bicycle, and a purse stolen from 3-4 other residents in Manheim Township. A couple of days ago we were assisting Juvenile Probation in Manheim with a friend of the suspect who was trying to pry a GPS (house arrest device) off his ankle. Officers had viewed video from Rutter’s of the credit cards being used from the stolen purse, and recognized one of the suspects at this call to assist Juvenile Probation. We were able to solve several thefts in the area from these two calls for service.
Chief showed a video captured by a resident on York Road showing two men going through his unlocked vehicles. Both suspects wore bandanas over their faces and gloves. Approximately $10 in change was stolen. A body shop up the street had both glass windows broken out that same night; probably related. Some power tools were stolen by reaching through the broken windows; the suspect(s) were unable to gain entry into the shop.
Chairman Bollinger had to leave the meeting at this point.
Chief’s Notes (Attachment B): The Chief’s Notes were presented as attached, with additional comments as follows:
Item 2 – Posting Board Minutes On-Line and Securing Body Camera Equipment: These are two subjects that residents have asked the Chief about over the past month while attending municipal board meetings. It has been suggested that we should start doing these things in order to become more transparent.
There was a lengthy discussion regarding posting the minutes on-line; should they be more detailed or less detailed? What do other departments do? V. Nickell asked if the attachments (Treasurer Report and Chief’s Notes) should be included when posting to the website. W. Tilley replied that just the narrative portion would be posted, as the attachments are just information for the Board. The consensus of the Board was to continue recording the minutes in the same detail as in the past and post them on-line after Board approval. Motion by L. Miller, second by T. Frock to begin posting the minutes on the website after Board approval; with August being the first month. R. Whyland asked if the website has a way of tracking how many people actually look at the minutes once they are posted. Chief replied yes, we are in a transitional phase of our web design, but we will be able to count how many people look at the minutes. R. Whyland wants to make sure that it will be worth the effort to post them; if nobody is actually looking at them, why bother posting them? Motion carried unanimously.
Body Cameras – The event at Santander Bank has residents asking why we don’t utilize body cameras. In York County, 3 of the 17 police departments use them. The cost to equip the officers at this time is a little over $23,000. That is purchasing enough for each shift, not each officer. A resident from Heidelberg Township made a $2,000 donation about three years ago for body cameras, and that money has been retained in the donations bank account. We currently have video cameras in each patrol vehicle and on the tasers. Chief endorses the use of body cams; however, at this time PA law does not allow the use of video cameras within a residence. This law complicates the use of body cams. Also, the current Right-To-Know laws allow the release of body cam videos and the department would probably inundated with requests should we start using them. It is expected that the RTK laws will be changed in the future to exclude body cam videos.
Item 3 – National Night Out: Over the past few years the attendance of NNO has been dwindling. Last year Spring Grove held its 1st annual Spring Forge Plaza Block Party, which we participated in and was very well attended. For this reason, it was decided not to do NNO this year and to participate in the Block Party on September 8th instead. The department also competed in the 2nd annual Smoke in the Grove wing competition event. Officer Goodling was the head chef and her recipe brought home 1st place in the professional judgement competition; 2nd place in the people’s choice competition.
Item 4 – Excessive Rain – Chief thanked everyone for their assistance in the recent flooding in our jurisdictions.
Item 5 – Vehicle Repairs – We had two large vehicle repairs – vehicle 126, a 2013 Charger (151,000 miles) needed a new transmission, motor mount and radiator at a cost of $7,800; and vehicle 128, a 2014 Charger (105,000 miles) needs a new engine. We got a quote from Dodge of $8,000 for a new motor; $7,200 for a remanufactured one. Kroft’s stated they could provide a Jasper motor for $7,000. Chief called S. Stambaugh for his opinion, and he stated he doesn’t have much confidence in Jasper motors, and recommended getting the remanufactured motor for $7,200. When Chief called Dodge back, they said they didn’t have any remanufactured motors in stock. He told them to try to find one; we do not have an immediate need to repair the vehicle. The parts manager then called him back and said they would sell us the new motor for the price of the used one ($7,200). There was discussion of alternative ways to repair the engine, i.e. purchase a used Dodge Charger and swap the motor out. B. Hilt asked when these vehicles are due to be rotated out. Chief replied that it is usually done between 150,000-200,000 miles. There are two older cars (124 & 125) that would be replaced first, so 126 wouldn’t be due for replacement for 3 years (2 years on the road, 1 year as a spare).
Chief reported that many roads were closed during the heavy rain and resulting floods. R. Whyland gave a detailed explanation of how the water is released at the Marburg dam. During Hurricane Agnes the gates were gauged to drop 36” when the water hit a certain level. When this happened Porters Sideling and the paper mill were completely flooded out. When the water gets to 38” at the dam at Spring Grove, the flood plan goes into action. During the recent events the paper mill periodically opened the gates of the dam at Spring Grove 6-12” in order to gradually bring the water level down and avoid the 36” trigger at Marburg. Chief reported that he had been told we would have one hour to evacuate if the gates were dropped. We immediately prepared a list of items to load and take to higher ground and which homes would need evacuated. Only two houses in Porters were flooded, and there was no flooding at the police station. W. Tilley suggested that we research our flood insurance.
- Shearer stated that North Codorus should have been notified when the gates were going to be dropped, as they are affected too. R. Whyland stated they are obligated to notify 911; county should have called him. Chief stated that he called the fire department and notified them.
2017 Year-End Balance – V. Nickell presented a spreadsheet detailing the net income from the December 2017 Profit & Loss report. There was a difference of $1,097.65 between the net income and the balance brought forward. R. Shearer wants to know why there is a difference. V. Nickell is asking the auditors for an explanation. R. Shearer also wants to know if the audit report can be prepared without combining the General Fund with the Capital Reserve Fund; it would be easier to understand if they remain separate. R. Shearer stated that the audit report net income is totally different from the Profit & Loss report; they should match. V. Nickell stated that the auditor doesn’t include the money transferred from the Health Insurance Refund account as income, so the audit report will never match the Profit & Loss report.
2019 Budget – A copy of the first draft of the 2019 proposed budget was distributed. V. Nickell explained that since we are hoping to approve the budget in the September meeting, she thought it would be good to give the Board some time to review the initial draft. This draft has also been provided to all the municipal managers, as this is the budget she will be presenting at their August board meetings. V. Nickell pointed out that this is a 2-year increase, as we are comparing 2019 to 2017 due to the 2018 budget not being approved by all the municipalities. The cost increase is 6.55%, the increase to the municipalities is 4.61%. The health insurance was calculated by taking the average of the increases for the past five years. She will not get the actual cost from Benecon until October. W. Tilley stated that the legal fees should be increased, previous years actual spent has not been $10,000 for any of the years. Chief Bean stated that this is the initial draft, it has not been approved by the Budget Committee, it is a work in progress. We wanted the municipalities to have access to the budget process from the very beginning, in an effort to be more transparent and avoid any confusion as the process progresses toward the final budget proposal. R. Shearer asked why we spent $20,000 more on worker’s comp in 2017. V. Nickell stated that it usually depends on how their audit comes out. If the actual payroll is more than what was budgeted in the previous year, they have to invoice us for the difference. Also, they are given a budget for payroll that goes from January – December; but they audit from July 1 – June 30, so six months of their audit is at a higher pay rate, causing the payroll to be higher than the budget submitted to them. V. Nickell stated she would take a closer look at the detail for 2017. R. Shearer stated that he wanted it to go on the record that in 2017 the North Codorus Board did e-mail M. Bollinger with their concerns about the 2018 budget. L. Miller replied that this year these concerns can be brought to the Budget Committee meeting, as the municipal board will have seen the initial draft of the budget and have the opportunity to pass on their concerns before the budget has been approved by the Police Board. A meeting of the Budget Committee was scheduled for August 27th at 6:00 pm. V. Nickell will notify M. Bollinger.
- Shearer stated that he is still receiving calls from County regarding signs being down, but they do not give him enough information (i.e. what type of sign, location). They also give him wrong information, i.e., wrong road names. He asked that the officers call him, not County Control. Chief stated that he thought that was the process being followed, but if County should call him again, Rodney should ask County to have the officer call him directly. R. Shearer stated that he thinks he received an e-mail from the Chief stating that the policy would be for County to contact the road crews, not the officers. Chief said he will double check, but in future R. Shearer should just ask County to have the officer call him. L. Miller stated that he thinks Manheim Township’s ex-road master may have been part of the reason the officers stopped calling the road crews directly. (T. Frock left the meeting at this time).
- Shearer asked what we charged Jefferson Borough for the carnival this year. V. Nickell replied $75/hour. This more than covers the overtime rates of the officers.
- Shearer asked if North Codorus Township was going to get any response to the letter they sent to the Police Board. R. Whyland replied that a draft response had been submitted to Chairman Bollinger; he will remind him to send a response.
- Whyland asked for an explanation of the vehicle leases. V. Nickell explained that right now there are two vehicle leases, car 133 and 135. Last year the Board approved the purchase of one vehicle from the left over funds; that vehicle has not been purchased yet. The 2019 budget proposal is showing two new leases; one from the vehicle we hope to purchase this year, and one to be purchased in 2019. Leases run for three years and the interest charged for each lease is $1200. The price of an outfitted police vehicle is $39,000. R. Whyland suggested it would be more cost-effective to start buying vehicles out right instead of leasing them. He suggested paying off the present leases and buying two new cars using the funds in the Health Insurance Reimbursement Fund. V. Nickell explained that the money from that fund is used to deflect the cost of health insurance in the budget; the amount proposed in the 2019 budget is $150,000.
The Board adjourned at 9:10 pm.