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Layden Named Police Chief March 22, 2019

West Hempfield Township has selected Lisa Layden as its new police chief to replace retiring Chief Mark Pugliese. Pugliese had served the township for 35 years, the last 17 in the capacity of chief.

Layden is currently a detective-sergeant with the Southwestern Regional Police Department (PD) in York County. She has been with the department since 1996 and has previously held the ranks of patrol officer and patrol sergeant. In her capacity with Southwestern Regional PD, Layden has been the lead investigator for major crimes, department supervisor for criminal investigation and crime prevention, primary Internal Affairs investigator, and training officer for patrol and supervisors. Layden is certified as an Expert Witness for investigation of Child Abuse and Application of Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law in Federal Court. She was named Officer of the Year in 2002, 2012, and 2017 and received an Academic Achievement Award in 2007 and 2010. She has received numerous commendations during her tenure.

Layden is a 1995 graduate of the Harrisburg Area Community College Police Academy, a 2007 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Behavioral Science in criminal justice, a 2019 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Master of Public Administration, and a current student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she is completing her Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology in administration and leadership studies.

Layden currently resides in York County with her husband, Dale. They have three grown sons, Dan, Tod, and Andy. She enjoys making mosaic art pieces and wildlife pen and inks.

Layden is a runner, participates in 5Ks, and is training to run marathons in the future.

Layden will be publicly appointed as chief by the West Hempfield Township Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Tuesday, April 2, and she will start work shortly thereafter. The Board of Supervisors selected Layden unanimously.


Event Planning Meeting Posted March 22, 2019

The first planning meeting for the 2019 Pequea Township National Night Out event will be held on Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the New Danville Fire Company, 43 Marticville Road, Lancaster. The National Night Out event will be held on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Anyone interested in volunteering and members of groups who may be interested in attending National Night Out are encouraged to attend the planning session.


Local Student Supports K-9 Officer March 14, 2019

A third-grade student at Doe Run Elementary recently completed a passion project for his third-grade LEAP class, raising $568 to support Casper, the K-9 officer for Manheim Borough. Nathan Bowerman first became interested in raising money for Casper after seeing a Facebook video made with Casper and his handler, Officer Colwell. The video shared that training and expenses to maintain the K-9 program come solely from donations from organizations and the community.

In connection with his project, Nathan met Casper and Colwell, who gave him a two-hour tour of the new police station, including a tutorial and demonstration of the skill set that Casper brings to the police force. Nathan began researching K-9 officers and devised a plan to raise funds through the sale of puppy chow snack mix, a treat for humans consisting of cereal, peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar.

Nathan and his family made and sold 112 bags of the snack mix through Facebook, at Nathan's school, at a local business, and in the Bowermans' neighborhood. Through support and donations, the project raised $568, and a check was presented to the Manheim Police Department on March 13.

Colwell will join Nathan at Doe Run Elementary on Friday, April 26, when Nathan presents his research and passion project.


Deputies Promoted To Corporals March 13, 2019

Four Chester County deputy sheriffs - Frank DeJesse, Martin Lawson, Stanley McDaniel, and Matthew Jamie Mendenhall - recently received promotions to corporal at a ceremony in the Chester County Justice Center.

The program was held in Courtroom One. The deputies were joined by friends and relatives as well as members of the office.

Chief Deputy Jason Suydam opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by welcoming remarks from Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh and an invocation from the Rev. Floyd Wheeler, the office chaplain. Lt. Adam Sibley shared about each of the deputies.

DeJesse began working in the Chester County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) in November 2010. His credentials include an associate degree in elementary education and a commercial driver's license. He received his Act 120 certification from Delaware County Community College's Police Academy, and he worked for the Collingdale Police Department from 1997 to 2004. He brings institutional knowledge to his new position, having worked for 22 years in law enforcement in Chester and Delaware counties.

Lawson, who has amassed 21 years in law enforcement in Chester and Philadelphia counties, came to the Sheriff's Office in April 2015. His previous employment included work as a corrections officer at the Chester County Prison, where he served seven years as a corporal on the prison's Internal Emergency Response Team, and police duties for the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department as well as the University of Pennsylvania force. Lawson earned a bachelor's degree in security and management from the University of Phoenix; he also graduated from the Delaware County Community College's Police Academy and the Elizabethtown Corrections Academy.

McDaniel began working a the CCSO in January 2016. He earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Geneva College followed by a master's degree in pastoral leadership from Lancaster Bible College. A national registered critical care paramedic, he received his Act 120 certification from Delaware County Community College's Police Academy. His former employers include the Chester County Youth Center, Life Line Transport and Allied Barton Security. He also served as a lieutenant with the Philadelphia Fire Department, where he was a member for 22 years.

Mendenhall, who is partnered with K-9 Nero, came to the CCSO in May 2017 from the Berks County Sheriff's Office, where he had served as a captain with oversight over the fugitive warrants, domestic relations and K-9 units. He also supervised the Berks County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard. Mendenhall, who has certifications for first aid, CPR, active-shooter scenarios and K-9 decoy work, received his police training at Penn State University and the Reading Police Academy.

To earn the promotions, the deputies had to provide documentation to support their levels of seniority, education and military and specialized training. In addition, they needed to excel in front of an oral interview board, which included supervisors from the Sheriff's Office as well as another county law enforcement agency.


Police Department Receives Grant March 7, 2019

West Hempfield Township Police Department received an $11,000 lifesaving equipment grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. The grant allowed the department to purchase eight automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to enhance the department's lifesaving capabilities.

The new AEDs will replace the older machines currently in use. The new AEDs will be placed in service as soon as all officers undergo training on the new equipment.

According to Chief Mark G. Pugliese, "These AEDs are very similar to the machines we currently have except they are completely automatic, and voice prompts even assist the officers in administering CPR by telling the officer is they are going too fast (or) too slow or if chest compressions are too deep or not deep enough." Pugliese also noted, "(The new machines) are smaller, lighter, and extremely user-friendly."

The mission of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation is to provide funding, lifesaving equipment, and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations.


Police Department Receives Donation February 27, 2019

The Southern Regional Police Department recently received a $1,000 a donation from the New Freedom Lions Club in support of the department's efforts to reintroduce a K-9 program in Southern York County.

The dog is expected to assist in normal patrols, search and rescue, drug detection, and apprehension of suspects. The total costs to implement the project are expected to total approximately $70,000, which will include the dog, training for dog and officers, equipment and supplies, and a specially fitted police vehicle with a cage and temperature alarms; as well as vet care, food, and other maintenance and training costs for the first year. Approximately $10,000 has been collected to date.

To make a donation, readers may visit Donations can be made directly to the police department, located at 47 E. High St., New Freedom, or through the New Freedom Lions Club. For information about the Lions Club, including how to join, readers may call 717-235-0938.


Police Department Receives Donation February 20, 2019


Sheriff's Office Welcomes New Deputies January 28, 2019

Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh swore in 10 new deputies in January. The group of new deputies achieved a number of firsts, including its size, varied backgrounds, and gender composition: five males and five females.

Laniece Edmondson, a Philadelphia native, graduated from the Delaware County Community College's Police Academy in June 2017. Her career choice was inspired by her mother, a 30-year Philadelphia police officer. Edmondson comes to the Chester County Sheriff's Office from the Darby Borough Police Department, where she assisted with the training of new officers. When she is not working, she is likely to be found somewhere outside or at the gym. She enjoys a host of outdoor pursuits, especially hiking and kayaking.

Marjorie Gonzalez and Deborah Holmes were also sworn in. The pair became friends while working as security officers for the Sheriff's Office and discovered they both aspired to become deputies. To obtain the required Act 120 certification, they enrolled in Delaware County Community College's yearlong, part-time Police Academy program, enabling them to continue their day jobs. Holmes is a Coatesville High graduate who studied criminal justice at West Chester University. Gonzalez is a Navy veteran who grew up in Delaware County and attended Haverford High School and Millersville State College.

Melissa Harrington grew up in an Air Force family and studied broadcast journalism at Hartwick College. After earning her degree, she worked for a variety of shows, but she ultimately went in a different direction, pursuing a career in law enforcement. Harrington graduated from Delaware County Community College's Police Academy in 2017 and comes to the Sheriff's Office from the Schuylkill Township Police Department. She has worked with Scent Evidence and a nonprofit called Public Safety Dogs Inc., which rescues dogs and trains them to assist agencies with locating missing persons. In her spare time, she enjoys making candles for a business she created.

For Jeffrey Hagan, who attended Bayard Rustin High School, a job in the Sheriff's Office represents a homecoming of sorts: He was an intern in the office this past summer. Inspired in part by an uncle who spent 20 years with the Philadelphia Police Department, Hagan majored in criminology at Penn State University. He graduated from Delaware County Community College's Police Academy in December 2018. Hagan participates in a baseball league for adults and plays ice hockey.

Brian Jefferson, a native of North Wales, planned a career in automotive technology, receiving training at A. Philip Randolph Career Academy in Philadelphia and the Automotive Training Center in Warminster. He shifted gears after being laid off from a job. Inspired by relatives and television shows, he attended Delaware County Community College's Police Academy, graduating in 2011; he also joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Jefferson comes to the Sheriff's Office from the Darby Borough Police Department, where he earned special recognition for rescuing a suicidal subject. In his spare time, he enjoys working out and spending time with his family.

Edward Kebbekus is another familiar face to many who frequent the Chester County Justice Center. A native of New Jersey, he attended West Chester University, majoring in criminal justice. He subsequently worked at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County before joining Chester County's Adult Probation Department in 2012. Kebbekus was eager to explore another aspect of law enforcement, and he credits his family with supporting his decision to attend Delaware County Community College's Police Academy. After his graduation in 2017, he left Adult Probation and joined the Darby Township Police Department. When he is not working, Kebbekus enjoys traveling, camping, and working out.

William Merola took a somewhat circuitous route to the Chester County Sheriff's Office. He attended Upper Darby High, where Welsh appears on the school's Wall of Fame, and he majored in leisure/sports studies at Kutztown University and began working in retail. In 2015, several police officers urged him to attend Delaware County Community College's Police Academy. He graduated in 2015 and began working for the Aldan Borough Police Department and later the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, where he sometimes saw a copy of Welsh's Wall of Fame photo at the Delaware County courthouse. When he heard about an opening in her office, he was eager to apply. The bulk of his spare time goes to family activities.

Maura McMahon, a Montgomery County native, grew up surrounded by people involved in law enforcement - especially her father, who works as a defense attorney. She earned a degree in science from James Madison University in Virginia and interned in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office before enrolling in Montgomery County Community College's Police Academy. She graduated in 2017 and accepted a job as a police officer with the Western Berks Regional Police Department. She said she particularly enjoys the aspects of police work that merge her appreciation for scientific precision with her interest in helping others. In her spare time, McMahon is working toward her NRA firearms instructor certification. She also has a martial arts background in jiu-jitsu and Krav Maga and is a competitive distance runner in the area.

David Pomroy received his law enforcement inspiration while growing up in a small town in Gloucester County, N.J. The first in his family to pursue a career in police work, he graduated from Rutgers University with a criminal justice degree. He received his Act 120 certification from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in 2017; he is also certified to detect and classify improvised explosive devices. His interest in the Chester County Sheriff's Office was piqued by its K-9 Unit. In his leisure time, Pomroy enjoys taking walks with his dog and indulging his passion for motorcycles.


District Welcomes First School Resource Officer January 17, 2019

Lampeter-Strasburg (L-S) School District has welcomed Officer David Covey of the West Lampeter Township Police Department (WLTPD) as its first school resource officer (SRO). He is based at L-S High School, but he will regularly work with students in kindergarten through grade 12.

"Safety continues to be the No. 1 priority for our students and staff," said district superintendent Kevin Peart. "Having Officer Covey aboard as our SRO will only strengthen the great partnership that exists between the district and local police."

Administrators have been working with the Board of School Directors, WLTPD Chief Brian Wiczkowski, and the West Lampeter Township Board of Supervisors to employ an SRO since last year. In late summer, Covey's position was approved to begin in January 2019. Since then, he has been on campus several times a week and is quickly becoming a familiar face for students and staff.

"We are very fortunate to already have a strong working relationship with the L-S School District, and we are really looking forward to strengthening that bond with the implementation of a school resource officer," Wiczkowski remarked. "I'd like to thank Dr. Peart, the L-S School Board, and the West Lampeter Township Board of Supervisors for working together to make this happen."

In addition to monitoring the schools and campus for security, Covey's responsibilities will include peer counseling, guest speaking, and teaching. He hopes to conduct a mock crash, self-defense classes, and more.

"My job is to provide a safe learning environment for all students, and that includes awareness of what's happening both outside and inside the schools," Covey said.

Covey is a 19-year veteran of the WLTPD. After nearly two decades on the street, he welcomes the challenge of working with young people.

"Having kids of my own, I can see how things are changing," Covey commented. "Now that I'll be here every day, students can get to know me and feel comfortable sharing their concerns." Covey also noted that he looks forward to explaining to younger students how what they are learning in school can tie in to everyday life.

Covey resides in Lititz with his wife and three daughters.

For more information about the new SRO, readers may call the district at 717-464-3311 or the WLTPD at 717-464-2421.


VFW Recognizes Safety Officers January 16, 2019

The James A. Danner VFW Post 537 recently held a Safety Banquet to honor all first responders from the area and to specifically recognize one firefighter, one emergency medical technician (EMT), and one police officer. VFW Post 537 sought nominations from supervisory officers in Fairview Township, Newberry Township, and the borough of Goldsboro.

To be eligible for an award, nominees had to meet various criteria. The three primary criteria were recognition by their colleagues, unswerving loyalty to and active performance in safety of citizens, and dedication to their official responsibilities over a period of years, showing continuous growth in responsibility and experience.

The Firefighter of the Year for 2018 is Kyle Harbold. He serves as the fire police captain, assisting the Newberry Township Police Department in both emergency and nonemergency situations. He had the highest response to calls within the Newberry Township Fire Department.

Leslie Garner of Newberry Township's EMS was selected as the Post 537's Emergency Medical Technician Award winner for 2018. Garner began as an EMT in 2002 and became a medic in 2008. She has served as a full-time medic in Newberry Township since 2013.

Post 537 chose Detective Daniel Grimme of Newberry Township Police Department as the Police Officer of the Year. Grimme, an eight-year veteran of the Newberry Township Police Department, serves in the department's Criminal Support Unit. In the past year, he was instrumental in prosecuting several individuals who illegally delivered narcotics. In addition to general investigations, he also investigates domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Nominations for the 2019 Safety Officers can be submitted at any time prior to Sunday, Sept. 1, to the James A. Danner VFW Post 537. For more information, readers may call Charlie at 724-630-4956.


Gonzalez, Holmes Graduate From Police Academy January 15, 2019

The Chester County Sheriff's Office has announced that it was scheduled to add two deputy sheriffs to the roster in January. The new deputy sheriffs are Marjorie V. Gonzalez and Deborah A. Holmes.

Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh recently recalled the day about a year and a half ago when security officers Marjorie V. Gonzalez and Deborah A. Holmes requested a meeting with her. They explained that they had been discussing the possibility of attending Delaware County Community College's Police Academy. If they pursued the part-time program, they could continue as security officers during the yearlong curriculum. At the end, they would graduate with Act 120 certification, which is mandated by Pennsylvania to work as a police officer. The certification was the lone requirement preventing the two from moving up the ranks and becoming deputy sheriffs.

Welsh encouraged Gonzalez and Holmes and brought in the chief and lieutenants to offer additional encouragement.

Holmes said the seeds of the plan date back to March 2014 when she began working in the Sheriff's Office. A longtime friend who was working as a deputy immediately suggested that Holmes attend the police academy, but at the time, the single mother said her plate was full. In addition to caring for her two sons, Holmes was providing assistance to her father, who was seriously ill.

But Holmes, a Coatesville High School graduate who studied criminal justice at West Chester University, said her friend's urgings did not stop. When a colleague in the Sheriff's Office security force enrolled in the academy in 2017, Holmes regularly asked him questions about his experiences in the program.

The answers helped Holmes make up her mind in the summer of 2018, secure in the knowledge that she would be fulfilling a wish for her that her late father had often expressed. At the time, she did not know that Gonzalez once had the same ambition.

Gonzalez said that hearing Holmes announce her goal reignited her own aspirations. Gonzalez said that the thought of having company at the academy appealed to her.

Welsh said one of the most inspiring components of Holmes and Gonzalez's journey was the pair's teamwork, and the duo's commitment, perseverance, and dedication inspired others in the office. Welsh added that the training regimen produced a variety of obstacles.

Both Holmes and Gonzalez found the schedule grueling. After putting in a full day at the Chester County Justice Center, they fought rush-hour traffic, often just making it to the Delaware County campus in time for roll call at 5:45 p.m. Their classes took place from 6 to 10 p.m. Holmes said she arrived back home in time to put her sons to bed. Additionally, Holmes also experienced difficulty with the schedule during the firearms training, as participants had to add full Saturdays and Sundays to their schedules for six weeks.

For Gonzalez, a Navy veteran who joined the Sheriff's Office in April 2011, the physical training and the firearms instruction presented the biggest hurdles. She noted that she and Holmes were the oldest members of their class, and sometimes keeping up with younger classmates proved a bit intimidating.

In addition, Gonzalez, who grew up in Delaware County and attended Haverford High School and Millersville State College, had to call up distant memories. For example, she had not used a firearm in more than three decades.

Besides receiving periodic boosts from one another as well as colleagues in the Sheriff's Office, both cadets benefited from personal support systems. Holmes credited her mother and sons, and Gonzalez praised her pastor and members of her church, Saints Memorial Baptist Church in Bryn Mawr.

When graduation time approached, Gonzalez and Holmes learned that if they were employed by a law-enforcement agency, their boss could participate in the ceremony. Welsh was in attendance at the ceremony to present Gonzalez's and Holmes' diplomas.

Cpl. Brad DeSando was one of the cheering members of the Sheriff's Office at the graduation. The security force supervisor, he said he is losing two stellar officers, but he also expressed pride in Gonzalez's and Holmes' achievements.


Pequea Township Police Department Is Ready To Serve January 10, 2019

After 15 years, Pequea Township has a police department dedicated solely to the municipality. As far as retired police chief and current township supervisor Bob Race can tell, the department was first formed in the 1960s. Lloyd Bachman was the first chief, preceding Race in that role.

"You couldn't even write your own traffic tickets back then," Race related. "You went before the judge, and he mailed them a ticket."

In 2002, Pequea Township partnered with Conestoga Township to form the Southern Regional Police Department (SRPD), which patrolled both townships. At the end of 2017, a decision was made by both townships to dissolve the police commission, and in 2018, Conestoga Township moved to rely on the state police, said current Pequea Township Police Department (PTPD) chief John Michener. The SRPD was left with providing service to only Pequea Township, so it moved into the municipal building at 1026 Millwood Road, Willow Street. From there, the department patrols the 13.6-square-mile township and a population of about 5,000 people.

On the first day of 2019, the department's name was officially changed to Pequea Township Police Department. The PTPD is in the process of changing the names on the cruisers and on signage. New uniform patches were commissioned, and officers now sport an arrowhead-shaped patch bearing the state seal and township name. Michener noted that the design was chosen to be simple and to honor the Native American heritage of the area.

As a result of going from serving two townships to one, staffing was reduced slightly. Now, six full-time officers and a handful of part-time patrolmen provide around-the-clock coverage of the township. One of the officers is a member of the Lancaster County Drug Task Force, which provides the PTPD with resources and intel-gathering for the management of illegal drugs.

"Pequea Township seems more than happy to have us. They're pleased with the police service we're providing," Michener said. "We have a positive relationship with the board of supervisors and overwhelming support from the public. Combined with good officers, all that leads to great service by the police department."

"We have the best officers in the county," Race agreed. "I'm proud to have these (officers). I would hire any of them if I were still chief."

In particular, Michener praised Sgt. Robert Burger, who was named the Officer of the Year at an appreciation dinner on Jan. 5. Burger has been with the department for 16 years and is in charge of criminal investigations. During the transition period when Michener was swamped with extra work, Burger picked up the slack, freeing Michener to focus on making the transition as smooth as possible.

As chief of the PTPD, Michener has plans for the future of the department. He has kickstarted a bicycle patrol in the township's urban growth areas, and he has plans to focus on parts of the township that had been previously overlooked. The PTPD's records management system will be changed soon, and significant updates are being made to the personnel policy, which lays out how the department operates from top to bottom. The PTPD continues to offer house checks while residents are on vacation, Project Lifesaver monitoring and recovery, and safe pharmaceutical disposal. Officers also visit Pequea Elementary School to interact with students and provide positive interactions with police.

Michener noted that he would like to explore other townships getting involved with the police department again. He cited several townships in Lancaster County that contract with other municipalities for coverage and pointed out that the majority of townships in the Southern End rely on the state police for service.

For more information about the PTPD, readers may visit, follow @PequeaTwpPD on Twitter, find Pequea Township PD on Facebook, or call Michener at 717-945-7546.


Beards For Brothers Fundraiser Held January 3, 2019

Lancaster County police departments and first responders joined together in November to support Beards for Brothers. The campaign was organized by Officer Bill Watt of West Hempfield Township.

Each year, officers select a first responder from the community currently battling cancer or an organization providing care to those battling cancer. This year's Beards for Brothers campaign raised money for Officer Wendell Metzler of New Holland Borough Police Department, a 25-year veteran of law enforcement, a volunteer firefighter, and a emergency medical technician. In June, he was diagnosed with stage four melanoma. Metzler has undergone numerous radiation treatments and is currently receiving immunotherapy treatments to battle the disease.

Faulkner Chevrolet employees also joined representatives from the departments, including Akron Borough, Columbia Borough, East Cocalico Township, East Hempfield Township, Elizabethtown Borough, Lititz Borough, Lancaster City, Lancaster County Park Rangers, Manheim Borough, Manor Township, Millersville University, New Holland Borough, Southern Regional, Strasburg Borough, West Hempfield Township, West Lampeter Township, and Quarryville Borough, along with volunteer firefighters, EMS, and dispatchers from Lancaster County, joined to raise funds for Metzler and his family.

For more details, readers may contact Eileen Culp at 717-723-5240 or


Deputies Discover Connection December 18, 2018

Two Chester County deputy sheriffs recently realized they had crossed paths years earlier. Deputy Sheriff Keith Neiswender and Deputy Sheriff Howard "Larry" Sipple met each other earlier this year when they joined the Chester County Sheriff's Office at the same time, the culmination of a somewhat circuitous journey to West Chester. Neiswender had been working for the Berks County Sheriff's Office, and Sipple had been employed by the Caln Township Police Department. But it was their earlier military service that prompted a startling discovery: In 1991 and 1992, they both served on the USS America.

The revelation took a couple of weeks to surface. After being hired as deputies, the pair got to know each other during 13 weeks of field training. During that time, they maintained the same schedules and often ran into each other in the parking garage. One day, Sipple did a double-take when he saw "VF-102" on the side of Neiswender's vehicle.

Sipple said he knew immediately that Neiswender had served on the USS America because the VF-102 squadron was a sister squadron to his own, the VF-33. When he shared that information with Neiswender, he learned that they had both been deployed to the aircraft carrier during its 1991 to 1992 cruise. Neiswender, who had the decal custom-made, said he never imagined the connection it would forge. He also said that, though he has had countless chats with others over the years about his military service, the conversation with Sipple was the first one prompted by the logo.

Neither deputy can remember interacting directly on the warship, but the USS America's average population is 5,000. During the deputies' deployment, the USS America was focused on the Persian Gulf during the onset of Desert Storm. Sipple was responsible for working to test equipment for the F14 Tomcat and several other aircraft that operated on the ship. Neiswender was assigned to ensuring that the aircraft were loaded with the appropriate firepower.

The epiphany about the deputies' Navy connection came at a time when colleagues in the Sheriff's Office were experiencing some trouble telling them apart. According to Sipple, he and Neiswender look similar and joined the Sheriff's Office at the same time. Compounding the difficulty, a change in personnel delayed the delivery of the deputies' nametags. When the IDs finally arrived, the pair briefly considered switching them to continue confounding their co-workers, but their less-prankish sides prevailed.


Friends Fund New WLTPD Purchases November 15, 2018

The fleet of vehicles owned by the West Lampeter Township Police Department (WLTPD) has expanded by one cruiser and two pedal carts. While most community members have no desire to take a ride in the back of the cruiser, department employees hope folks will be interested in the pedal carts. When cart drivers wear special goggles, they can safely experience what driving under the influence of a blood alcohol content ranging from .08 to .35 might be like.

"We'll set up a course and have you put the goggles on, and you'll see how you can't see," explained Chief Brian Wiczkowski.

Wiczkowski noted that the carts and goggles are primarily for Officer Dave Covey to use in his role as the new resource officer for the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, which will begin in January. Before purchasing the equipment, Wiczkowski and Sgt. Jeremy Schroeder researched the concept. A test of similar equipment in Heidelberg Township easily convinced the public servants that the carts and goggles would be an excellent teaching tool for West Lampeter Township residents.

"We thought it was an immediate home run to get the message out to the community, not just kids: Don't drink and drive," Wiczkowski said.

"We have to develop the lesson plan so we can incorporate a fun way to learn," Schroeder added. "I think Dave will do a great job with that."

The carts and three pairs of goggles were purchased by the Friends of the Force, which is dedicated to funding the acquisition of items that would make community policing safer and more effective while not adding to the tax burden.

"It was a short turnaround. We went to the Friends, and (the equipment) was ordered and delivered in several weeks," Wiczkowski said.

The new equipment cost $2,500, and it arrived in time for the West Lampeter Fair. Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented its introduction to the public. "We needed canoes instead," Wiczkowski quipped.

The Friends also recently helped to outfit two department vehicles. The aforementioned cruiser was purchased by the department for Covey to use, and the Friends covered the costs for an integrated enhanced seatbelt system, a molded plastic rear seat, window bars, a tablet mount, a docking station, a portable printer, and a pushbar for the front of the cruiser. The Friends also helped to stock a second vehicle, for a total value of $5,200.

An additional $2,400 was approved on Nov. 6 to stock a ready bag for Covey's vehicle. A utility bag is assigned to every cruiser, and each bag contains small items officers might need to perform their duties. These include a tourniquet, a window punch, a seatbelt cutter, a defibrillator, a portable breath test, a small digital camera, emergency blankets, a CPR mask, a leash, a canister of naloxone, a comprehensive guide to the laws police officers enforce, and more.

"When the chief (initially) presented the ready bag (idea) to us, it was a no-brainer (to approve)," said Friends president Jim Kulp.

The recent purchases bring the total amount the Friends have spent for the department up to nearly $130,000. "That's from township residents," Friends member Barb Smith commented. "It shows how they think of the department. It's thanks to (residents we can do this)."

"We're really fortunate to have a supportive community," Wiczkowski added.

New members of the Friends are always welcome. The group meets monthly, and board members vote on purchases requested by the department. The Friends do not solicit in any way other than in an annual letter; the 2019 letter is expected to be mailed in February.

For more information, readers may visit or call Kulp at 717-917-2184.


Sheriff's Office Receives Gifts Of Appreciation October 24, 2018

The Chester County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) recently received a delivery of food as part of the Cookies for a Cop initiative to express appreciation for members of law enforcement.

On Oct. 16, volunteers Debi Raughley and her husband, David, delivered multiple boxes of homemade cookies, pretzels, and dog treats to the CCSO. In Chester County, Raughley and her group planned to serve 30 police and fire agencies during this year's campaign, which took place from Oct. 15 to 19. If the first responders groups include any four-legged officers, they received treats as well.

The annual Fall Back on Us campaign requires months of planning, including calls to the various offices to get a head count so that no one is left out. Raughley said a group of approximately 30 bakers lent their talents to creating this year's bounty. In 2016, Cookies for a Cop's name was changed to Cookies for a Cop and Our Fire Friends, and Raughley expanded the local program to include firefighters.

Like many of the bakers, Raughley has strong ties to first responders. Her son is a third-generation law enforcement officer who is also married to a police officer.

For more information on the Cookies for a Cop program, readers may contact its founder, Becky Grizovic, at or visit The 2018 schedule includes deliveries to more than 700 departments in 26 states and two countries.


Police Department Receives Award October 17, 2018

Bell Socialization Services Inc. has recognized the Northern York Regional Police Department as the recipient of the Pauline Whitacre Community Services Award. Presented to an individual or group that provides time and resources to enhance Bell's mental health programs, the award was received at Bell's fall annual meeting on Oct. 2 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in York.

The Northern York Regional Police Department has worked with Bell's assertive community treatment (ACT) team on many occasions over the past year, meeting staff members at client homes, parking lots, and stores to help coordinate the safety of mental health clients. Bell recognized the officers for exhibiting compassion and understanding when clients displayed extreme psychotic behaviors and for working collaboratively with staff members and respectfully with clients at all times. ACT program coordinator Christine Adkins nominated the police department for the award. Deputy Chief of Police Dave Lash and Lt. Gregg Anderson accepted the award.

Bell Socialization Services Inc. is a human services agency based in York that provides housing and living skills supports to individuals living with mental illness, people with intellectual disabilities, and families that are homeless.


Drug Take-Back Collection Posted October 16, 2018

Garden Spot Village, 433 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland, and the New Holland Police Department will provide a collection site on the 15th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, Oct. 27. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the public may bring expired, unwanted or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications to the collection site on the campus of the retirement community for secure disposal.

The event is free and completely anonymous. Participants may remove personal information from drug bottles or packages. Pills, capsules, creams and liquids will be accepted, but syringes or sharps will not.

A law enforcement officer will be present during the collection. Signs will be posted on campus to direct the public to the collection site.

For more information, call Colleen Musselman at 717-355-6007 or Chief of Police William Leighty at 717-354-4647.


Deputies Complete Fitness Test October 16, 2018

An uncommon sight greeted early-bird commuters in downtown West Chester on Oct. 10: more than a dozen deputy sheriffs on the run. Receiving some illumination from a Sheriff's Office truck with its lights flashing, the group was in the final stage of the 2018 Superior Fitness Challenge. The challenge began at 5 a.m. with 100 push-ups followed by 100 sit-ups. Afterward, the deputies donned 30 pounds of equipment, including large shields, before they each dragged a 150-pound dummy up and down a long hallway, jumped over a 5.5-foot wall, carried a battering ram about a block, and then ascended and descended a nine-story staircase while wearing weighted vests.

The ordeal preceded a five-minute break. By 6:45 a.m., the deputies started the finale, a 2.5-mile formation run around the borough of West Chester. As drivers and pedestrians watched, the deputies braved several inclines, offering each other encouragement in the process.

Cpl. Joseph Woulfe, the fitness coordinator who oversees the challenge, said the routine was created by Chief Deputy Sheriff Jason Suydam. Initially, it represented the first step in the application process to join the Fugitive Apprehension Unit before it was opened up to all deputies.

Woulfe explained that the test accomplishes more than just an assessment of physical prowess. It also measures teamwork, dedication, and determination, qualities that come in handy when deputies attempt to apprehend fleeing suspects or respond quickly to someone in distress.

The instructors - Woulfe, Deputy Sheriff Steven Price, Deputy Sheriff Enrique Garcia, and Cpl. Daniel Strathy - took the test a week earlier so that they could oversee this year's challenge and assist with traffic control during the run.

Deputies who successfully complete the challenge receive pins to wear on their uniforms. In addition to the four instructors, the 2018 Superior Fitness Challenge pin recipients are Deputy Sheriff Joel Buccialia, Deputy Sheriff Michael Cabry, Deputy Sheriff Mario Dioguardi, Deputy Sheriff Peter Gardner, Deputy Sheriff Sean Marasco, Deputy Sheriff Christian Medina, and Security Officer Manuel "Manny" Morris.


HUMC Slates Two-Part Community Fall Fest October 13, 2018

On Friday, Oct. 26, Hempfield United Methodist Church (HUMC), 3050 Marietta Ave., Lancaster, will host the Community Fall Fest. The free event, which is open to the public, will feature two main components.

A Cops and Rodders "Trunk or Treat" car show will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Hosted in cooperation with the East Hempfield Township Police Department, the event will be held in the rear parking lots of the church.

The Hempfield Cops and Rodders Car Show began in 2011 as a fundraiser for what was then the newly formed East Hempfield Township Police Department K-9 unit. Over the years, the event has grown, and funds raised from the show benefit various local nonprofit organizations. In 2016, a Trunk or Treat car show was launched as an outgrowth of the original show. Car owners do not need to register their vehicles for this event. Cars are not judged, and there are no sponsorships or trophies awarded. The only requirement for those who display vehicles at this event is that they also bring new, individually wrapped candy to give out to those who visit.

Last year, an estimated 150 vehicles participated in the Trunk or Treat event, maxing out the space. As a result, the event has found a new home at Hempfield UMC.

The Trunk or Treat is primarily geared toward families with children up to 12 years old, but people of all ages are welcome to enjoy the vehicles that will be displayed. Trunk-or-Treaters are encouraged to come in costume but are asked to refrain from violence-themed outfits or costumes that include weapons.

The second part of the Community Fall Fest will kick off in the sanctuary at 7 p.m. East Hempfield Police officer Jason Skiles will briefly share a few trick-or-treat safety tips with attendees. Then, Jesse Rothacker of Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary will present a reptile show.

Rothacker has performed more than 2,000 animal shows for audiences of all ages. In addition to founding the sanctuary and serving as its president, Rothacker is a founder and board member of the Lancaster Herpetological Society. He appears regularly on local television and radio stations. Rothacker's program has been featured at the Pennsylvania governor's mansion, for the U.S. Congress, with Jay Leno, and at many other venues of all sizes. Folks may learn more about his work at

For more information about the Community Fall Fest, readers may call the church at 717-285-5156, visit, or follow the church on Facebook and Twitter by searching for "Hempfield UMC."

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