SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD
February 13, 2019 – 7:00 PM
Meeting called to order by Vice-Chairman L. Miller at 7:00 pm. The following were in attendance:
- Shearer, Rick Lint – North Codorus Twp. (NCT)
- Schmidt – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
- Miller (Vice-Chairman), S. Stambaugh (Secretary) – Manheim Twp. (MT)
- Hilt, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
- Bean – Chief of Police
- Nickell – Police Administrator
- Tilley – Solicitor
PUBLIC COMMENT: M. Muir, MT resident and Supervisor had the following comments and questions:
- Who wrote the letter from the Police Association?
- Chief stated he had not seen the letter, he only knows that the Police Association wanted to inform the community that a conversation was going on.
- Sgt. Stalcup (in the audience) stated that he did not personally write it, but it was reviewed by the Association’s legal counsel.
- The letter is addressed to MT residents, and states that MT is thinking of withdrawing from the department due to costs. M. Muir asked where the figures used in the letter came from (annual cost, cost per resident per day, etc.).
- Sgt. Stalcup replied that due to the fact he was not directly involved in writing the letter, he cannot say. He pointed out that at last month’s meeting Officer Lindenmuth spoke during Public Comment and stated the cost per resident per day for each municipality, so he was involved in putting calculations together.
- M. Muir stated that the MT Supervisors have never stated that they were withdrawing from the department because they are paying too much. Their question has always been what the department and budget will be without NCT. They asked this question back in September/early October and still have not received an answer from the Chief, other than the price will remain the same and the service will be cut in half. M. Muir asked Chief to verify some of the items listed on the letter as facts; since the letter came from the department.
- Chief replied that he had nothing to do with the letter, and has not even read it so he cannot verify anything listed in it. The letter came from the Police Association, not him. M. Muir was incredulous that a letter could come from the officers and the Chief would not be aware of it. Chief stated that he cannot speak to any of the numbers contained in the letter; he has been spending all of his time trying to keep the four (4) municipalities together. He has not addressed what the department would look like without NCT because he is hoping they don’t leave.
- M. Muir stated he understands, but the letter states as a fact that MT would pay $334,000 a year for 24-hour service if NCT pulls out – is that correct? Chief Bean replied that he personally told M. Muir that would not be the case when they met one-on-one previously.
- M. Muir stated that he personally has received phone calls from residents stating that officers are driving through their township soliciting people to talk to their supervisors because MT is thinking of pulling out because they are paying too much. A business owner told him that he called into the department to ask a question about an on-going police matter and the officer on duty told him he needs to go to a township meeting to see what his supervisors are up to. These phone calls are what prompted him to meet with the Chief one-on-one. At that time he told Chief in no uncertain terms that MT was not considering withdrawing because of budget concerns; they approved $350,000 for police coverage in the MT budget; and the letter that went to the residents is not factual and basically lying to the residents. At that time Chief denied knowing anything about the letter or the phone calls; M. Muir has a hard time believing this because one of the residents stated they received an e-mail from the Chief stating the same facts. Chief replied when residents ask him for information he gives it to them and it is done independently from anything the Police Association does.
- M. Muir stated that if anybody asks why MT is considering to withdraw, the answer is and always has been – what does the department look like when NCT leaves? Chief had told him he would speak with the officers, and then a week later the letter went out to the residents. He has seen the Chief on the news a couple of times, stating that he is disappointed that MT may withdraw due to cost concerns, M. Muir states this is not true. Does MT have any recourse for misinformation coming from the Police Association/ Department? He stated that MT is losing trust in the Chief, as the same things keep happening over and over. Chief doesn’t have time to get back to them, but he has time to be interviewed for the news media.
- Chief replied to M. Muir, stating that when residents ask what is happening he responds to them in detail through e-mail. He offered to show the e-mail to M. Muir when they met one-on-one, and M. Muir declined to look at it. (M. Muir stated that he saw the e-mail.)
- Addressing officers “campaigning” on-duty, Chief had asked M. Muir who was doing it so he could address the issue; M. Muir declined to tell him who it was. Chief wants to address any issues that any of the municipalities have, but he cannot do so if he is not provided complete information.
- He is doing everything he can to keep all four (4) municipalities together. When anyone from the media asks him questions, it is his duty to provide them with information. Informing the people is the responsibility of any government entity.
- When he spoke with Fox 43 (at their request, not his) he said that Manheim Township is concerned about North Codorus withdrawing and that is why the conversation is occurring – this is what M. Muir asked him to tell the media.
- He doesn’t understand why he is being depicted at the bad guy, he is doing everything the Police Board has directed him to do and he is trying to keep the four (4) communities together. He sees the department as a strong value to the 18,000 residents the department serves, and he is trying to make sure it continues.
- The Police Board has directed him to cut costs; he has done everything he can to formulate cost-cutting measures.
- It was not his idea, nor would he even suggest, that we send out letters to the residents.
- M. Muir stated that L. Miller had reached out to two of the Police Board members in early November to discuss the NCT intention to withdraw and he was told that the solicitor told them they could not discuss it. This was cleared up in January, and they have since met to discuss it. The MT residents have never been informed that if NCT leaves they will be paying the same and receiving half the amount of service. Anyone he has told has responded with “why would we do that?”. This is the information that
needs to get out; not that MT was complaining about the budget. He is very disappointed that this is what people are hearing from the Chief and the officers. L. Miller assured M. Muir that the Police Board would be discussing the matter.
- LeFever, NCT resident, thanked the Officers’ Association for the letter they sent, stating it was concise and easy to understand. She appreciates their efforts to keep residents informed. She is confident in the Police Board to resolve this issue to everyone’s satisfaction; she was extremely encouraged after the January Police Board meeting. She believes if everyone is willing to give a little we will be able to retain our local police department, even if it means receiving less hours of service. R. Shearer responded to W. LeFever, stating that the letter sent out by the Officers’ Association says NCT is taking away the local police department. He said NCT never said they were taking local police away, and he doesn’t know what that letter meant by that. W. LeFever stated that Southwestern Regional is their local police department, and if NCT withdraws they are taking away their local police. R. Shearer asked if they hire another police department wouldn’t they be considered local? He stated that he has said many times that they are getting prices from at least two (2) other police departments and having conversations with the State Police. He stated that they are not taking away local police – W. LeFever stated the residents’ perception is that they are, and this was the perception before the letter was sent by the Officers’ Association.
MINUTES: Review of the minutes of January 9, 2019. Motion by R. Whyland, second by S. Stambaugh to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attachment A) Treasurer’s Report was presented. L. Miller asked why the overtime for January was high – over $5,500. Chief stated he will look into the cause (maybe due to holidays) and e-mail everyone with his findings. L. Miller stated he was shocked that County Court was almost $1,000. B. Hilt asked if the taser sent for repair was one of the new ones purchased last year. Chief replied yes, it is still under warranty but we had to pay the shipping. She then asked what “blue gun training tasers” were. Chief explained it is training with a “dummy” taser, in response to the accidental shooting incident at Santander Bank in May of 2018. A check was written for towing a stolen vehicle – will we get reimbursed for this? Chief replied yes, usually the car insurance will reimburse us. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to approve the Treasurer’s Report pending the question on overtime being answered. Motion passed with one opposed (R. Shearer).
Chief stated there were 347 calls for service in January, 181 traffic stops and 18 criminal charges were filed on 11 offenders. There weren’t any questions regarding the crime stats.
An incident occurred in SGB involving a father going to a residence looking for his adult son. He forced his way into the home and punched the homeowner in the face. He then left, as his son was not there. Offender was arrested at his home.
Chief’s Notes (Attachment B): The Chief’s Notes were presented as attached with the following additional comments:
- Southwestern Regional Cuts Crime In Half – We have been looking at a lot of information in the quest to cut costs, and realized that since our first full year of service (2003) to December 31, 2018, Part I and Part II crimes have been reduced by 47%. We actually had twice the number of incidents we had expected in the beginning, mostly due to the fact that residents realized they had a 24/7 police department and called things in that they previously wouldn’t have.
- Reinventing the Department Update – We are looking into reducing staff by two (2) officers. Doing so would drop our cost to $108 per resident and give us 0.6 officers per thousand residents. In comparing with other regional police departments in York County we would still be the least expensive, and the highest comes in at $214 per resident with 1.3 officers per thousand residents.
- Gun Ownership Classes – To-date we have conducted classes for NCT and SGB residents; MT has had 48 people signed up for the class being held February 26, HT class is scheduled for March 12th. All classes are conducted here at 6:30 pm.Press Releases – There were eight (8) Press Releases this past month. One involved the school bus wreck pictured on the Chiefs Notes. The bus looks heavily damaged, but thanks to the design of the seats (high backs) nobody was injured.L. Miller asked if crime stats are down in part because crimes are changing, i.e., those that call for an ambulance where Narcan is administered cannot be criminally charged. Chief replied that he thinks it is because people are calling before small things become a crime. For example, people are more inclined to call 911 regarding a domestic when they feel comfortable calling for police, thereby preventing a possible assault with the timely arrival of an officer. Crime has been trending down across the country, and that is probably a contributing factor also.OLD BUSINESS:
Administrative Pay Raises – Chief Bean explained that due to the fact that the Police Board did not approve a budget for 2019 there haven’t been any raises for the administrative staff. Officers received a 3% raise per the CBA. He offered to forgo his raise, but feels the other two administrative employees should receive theirs. The total would amount to $2,066. Motion by R. Whyland, second by R. Shearer to table this until next month. Motion carried unanimously.
Personnel Committee Report – R. Whyland reported that he and B. Hilt have spent a good deal of time in trying to formulate a 2020 budget with less personnel. They have tried to look at it in the context of hours of service instead of number of personnel. Presently with 14 officers the cost for service is $85 an hour. They are setting goals and putting a timeline together, expecting final action by May. They requested an Executive Session to discuss specific personnel issues.
Peoples Bank Dormant Account Fee – V. Nickell reported that Peoples Bank is going to begin charging $5 per month on the Sick Leave & Vacation bank account because there hasn’t been a deposit made in two (2) years. This fee can be avoided if we make a temporary transfer into that account, but she is requesting Board approval to do so. Motion by S. Stambaugh, second by R. Whyland to make a temporary transfer into the Sick Leave & Vacation bank account in order to avoid the Dormant Account Fee. Motion carried unanimously.
- Nickell distributed the annual Statement of Financial Interests form and requested Board members return it at the next Board meeting, as they now have to be mailed to the Ethics Committee instead of being held by the Department as in previous years.
The Board recessed into Executive Session to discuss personnel issues and cost savings at 7:45 pm, with action expected upon reconvening.
Meeting reconvened into Public Session at 9:20 pm. Motion by L. Miller, second by B. Hilt to authorize the Personnel Committee to assemble a new budget and work with the Chief on the staffing plan and schedule. The budget and plan will be reviewed by the Board in Executive Session to decide whether to submit it to all municipalities for review and comment. If so, the municipalities will decide if the Collective Bargaining Agreement proposals in the plan are authorized to be negotiated by the Police Board. Motion carried unanimously.
Motion by B. Hilt, second by S. Stambaugh to authorize the actuary to begin an actuarial study of the pension to determine if early retirement benefits can be offered to senior employees. Motion carried unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 9:23 pm.