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Coffee With A Cop Event Held April 19, 2017

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Drug Take-Back Event Planned April 18, 2017

Garden Spot Village and the New Holland Police Department will partner to provide a collection site in New Holland for the 13th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 29.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the public may bring unwanted, expired, or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications for safe, secure disposal at the collection site on the campus of the retirement community, 433 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland. Pills, capsules, creams, and liquids will be accepted, but syringes and other sharps will not.

The event is free and completely anonymous. Participants may remove personal information from drug bottles or packages. 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 details, call Colleen Musselman at 355-6007 or interim Chief of Police Jonathan W. Heisse at 354-4647.

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Police Sergeant Retires April 6, 2017

Sgt. Jose A. Ortiz Jr., a Lancaster County native, has retired as a police sergeant with the Mount Joy Borough Police department after 25 years of police service.

Ortiz enlisted with the Mount Joy Borough Police Department on Sept. 1, 1992. He attended the 54th Municipal Police Academy at Harrisburg Area Community College, Public Safety Institute. Ortiz received his Master of Arts degree in criminology from Indiana State University and is a highly decorated police officer who earned two Commendations for Valor and Distinguished Service, a mayoral citation and the Life Saving Award.

Ortiz was promoted on Sept. 30, 2014. He was the first Latino to achieve the rank of sergeant in the borough's history. Mayor Bradley recently stated that Ortiz's service and sacrifice have added to the tradition and history of the department and will continue to impact those who now follow in his footsteps.

In addition, Ortiz is a 33-year veteran who held the military rank of chief master sergeant in the Air Force and participated in Operations Desert Storm in 1991 and Enduring Freedom in 2001. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in May 2015.

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Hail To The Chief March 22, 2017

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Police Department Expansion Begins March 1, 2017

The planned expansion of New Holland Borough Hall has begun. The expansion will provide additional police operational and garage space.

The project is taking place on the west side of the existing department area. The current operations area of the department, not including some maintenance garage area use and restrooms, is approximately 1,650 square feet.

The new office area will provide a larger work space for the officers, as well as two additional temporary holding cells, additional interview rooms, a second evidence room and a new safer ammunition storage area. The expansion will total approximately 1,700 square feet. This part of the expansion is meant to address current officer safety concerns related to the handling and processing of prisoners and the separating of such activities from public or other employee areas, as well as to provide more up-to-date interview rooms.

The other part of the expansion will include a six-bay police vehicle garage of approximately 2,200 square feet. The garage area will provide not only for police vehicle security but will keep the vehicles out of the winter weather, which can damage the electronics.

The addition project contract will cost $572,680. With the preliminary demolition and preparation work, as well as the follow-up work, the total estimated project cost is $645,000. The project is being funded using the borough's capital reserve fund, and the project did not involve a tax increase or the need to borrow money. The project is expected to be completed by early July.

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Drop Boxes Offer A Place To Dispose Of Medication February 21, 2017

Paoli Hospital, 255 W. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, is the latest organization to install a prescription medicine drop box where community members can properly and anonymously dispose of unneeded, unwanted or expired medications.

Paoli Hospital partnered with the Chester County District Attorney's office and the Willistown Township Police Department to become the first Chester County hospital to be fitted with a prescription medicine drop box, which is located in the valet lobby at the hospital.

The drop box, monitored by Paoli Hospital security staff, will be emptied monthly by the Willistown Township Police Department. As with other drop boxes in Chester County, law enforcement officials will empty the boxes on a regular basis and then transport the drugs to be incinerated.

Other prescription medicine drop boxes can be found at the following locations: Caln Township Police Department, 253 Municipal Drive, Thorndale; Tredyffrin Township Police Department, 1100 DuPortail Road, Berwyn; City of Coatesville Police Department, 1 City Hall, Coatesville; Valley Township Police Department, 890 W. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville; East Brandywine Township Police Department, 1212 Horseshoe Pike, Downingtown; and Upper Uwchlan Township Police Department, 140 Pottstown Pike, Chester Springs.

Also, Easttown Township Police Department, 566 Beaumont Road, Devon; West Brandywine Township Police Department, 198 Lafayette Road, Coatesville; Kennett Square Borough Police Department, 115 N. Broad St., Kennett Square; West Caln Township Police Department, 721 W. Kings Highway, Coatesville; New Garden Township Police Department, 8934 Gap Newport Pike, Landenberg; West Chester University Police Department, 690 S. Church St., West Chester; and North Coventry Township Police Department, 845 S. Hanover St., Pottstown.

Also, West Goshen Township Police Department, 1025 Paoli Pike, West Chester; Oxford Borough Police Department, 57 N. Fourth St., Oxford; West Vincent Township Police Department, 729 St. Matthews Road, Chester Springs; Parkesburg Borough Police Department, 315 W. First Ave., Building 2, Parkesburg; West Whiteland Township Police Department, 101 Commerce Drive, Exton; Phoenixville Borough Police Department, 351 Bridge St., Phoenixville; Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department, 1041 Wilmington Pike, West Chester; Sheriff's Office, Chester County Justice Center, 201 W. Market St., West Chester; and Willistown Township Police Department, 688 Sugartown Road, Malvern.

Products that can be placed in the drop boxes include prescription and over-the-counter solid medications; tablets and capsules; liquid medications, such as cough syrups, in their original containers; prescription patches; medical creams and ointments; vitamins; pet medicines; and nasal sprays.

Items that will not be accepted include hydrogen peroxide, asthma inhalers, thermometers, alcohol and medications that contain iodine. Syringes, needles and EpiPens will also not be accepted; instead, they should be taken to a doctor's office or hospital for proper disposal.

For more information, readers may visit www.chesco.org/2673/Medication-Drop-Off.

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Residents Invited To Share Coffee With Cops February 16, 2017

Manor Township Police Department has offered Coffee Wiith Cops events on two mornings, but the third will take place during evening hours. Sgt. Kim Geyer said that holding the event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, will hopefully draw a crowd since it will not conflict with typical daytime jobs. Coffee With Cops will take place at the township municipal building, 950 W. Fairway Drive, Lancaster.

The morning sessions featured coffee and doughnuts. The evening occurrence will offer caffeine-free beverages and light refreshments.

Although snacks are yummy, the purpose of Coffee With Cops is to provide an informal setting in which township residents may interact with public servants. Geyer, Chief Todd Graeff, and at least one other officer are expected to participate in the event.

"We want residents to meet the police and ask questions about our jobs," Geyer said. She noted that in the past sessions, "a lot of people came out just to support us. Others had traffic concerns."

A topic of interest at one of the events was school bus crossings. Other concerns of note included roads where speeding is popular and stop signs. While discussion of individual legal cases will not be appropriate for Coffee With Cops, folks may ask about new ordinances in the township, the consequences of violations, parking issues, and anything else they would like to know. Geyer said that she would appreciate it if residents would ask how they can help the department and how to be proactive citizens.

Coffee With Cops will be open to the public free of charge. Readers may contact Geyer at 299-5231, ext. 127, or at GeyerK@police.co.lancaster.pa.us for more information.

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Sheriff's Office Issues Warning February 8, 2017

Weeks after the Chester County Sheriff's Office warned residents about a scam involving calls from deputy sheriff impersonators regarding jury fines, another fraudulent scheme has surfaced, this one timed to income-tax season. Once primarily a threat to seniors, the latest wave of scams has been targeting ordinary taxpayers, tax preparers, and unsuspecting students and parents across the country.

The scams continue to change in form, but the purpose is always to frighten or scare the citizen into giving personal information or in some cases to pay a fine or tax to avoid arrest or prosecution. To boost their nonexistent credentials, scammers will often impersonate an IRS agent with false badge numbers or identify the last four numbers of a potential victim's Social Security number. A scammer will typically ask victims to validate tax return information to collect personal information. Some con artists will insist that a deputy sheriff or police officer will take the victims to prison if they do not satisfy back taxes.

In some versions of the scam, the crooks call potential victims and inform them that their Social Security numbers have already been used for tax filing, causing their claims to be rejected. To "fix" the problem, the scammer seeks proof of identity from the victims. Such information enables the scammer to steal identities and file fraudulent returns, using an address the scammer can access to collect the refunds.

Once the scammers lure money from a victim, they will often strike again, telling the citizen that they represent the FBI, which is investigating the scammers that recently took the victim's money. The victim is then encouraged to pay money to the investigators to recoup the initial loss.

New variations of phishing schemes - attempts to get information such as passwords and credit card numbers through emails disguised to resemble official communication - are impacting tax professionals. The scammer poses as a potential client and sends the tax-preparer an email asking for tax assistance. When the tax-preparer replies, the scammer sends another email with an embedded web address or attachments containing embedded web addresses. When the tax preparer downloads the information, the scammers can collect email addresses, passwords, and other proprietary information.

Scammers identifying themselves as IRS agents and demanding full or partial payment for the Federal Student Tax, which does not exist, are swindling students and parents. Sometimes the con artist will alter the caller ID, a process known as "spoofing," so that a call appears to be coming from an official source. The scammer will ask the student or parent to wire money immediately using a gift card or money transfer company, threatening to report them to local authorities if they do not comply.

The IRS is warning taxpayers to avoid any offer that sounds too good to be true, such as promises of refunds for low-income residents with no documentation or claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or for economic stimulus payments. IRS representatives will never call and demand payment over the phone, threaten taxpayers with arrest by local authorities if payments are not made, demand a specific method of payment, or request credit card or debit numbers over the phone.

The Chester County Sheriff's Office urges all residents to remain vigilant, liberally share warnings about the scams, and report suspicious activity to local police departments. In addition, tax professionals are encouraged to take steps to ensure their data is not compromised.

Phishing and online scams should also be reported to the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/uac/report-phishing. For information on identity protection and victim assistance, readers may visit www.irs.gov/individuals/identity-protection. Additional information on scams and phishing may be found at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.

For more details, readers may contact Kathy Brady Shea at 610-344-6860 or kbradyshea@chesco.org or Rebecca Brain at 610-344-6279 or rbrain@chesco.org.

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Graduation Ceremony Held February 1, 2017

A graduation ceremony of Class 001 Patrol and Narcotics took place recently at the Chester County Justice Center and held special significance for the Chester County Sheriff's Office.

The ceremony heralded the graduates of the county's first-ever K-9 patrol and narcotics training course. Previously, K-9 teams traveled to Ohio to receive certification.

Additionally, the ceremony included three SEPTA K-9 teams, which had worked since September to complete the rigorous course.

The graduates included Chester County Deputy Sheriff Mike Sarro and his partner, Dexter; Chester County Deputy Sheriff Mike Carlson and his partner, Luke; SEPTA Officer Jason Walters and his partner, Jase; SEPTA Officer Richard Donaldson and his partner, Quest; and SEPTA Officer Derrick Gordon and his partner, Lars.

According to Chester County Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh, the initiative was made possible through the efforts of Chester County Deputy Sheriff Paul Bryant, a Level III trainer for the U.S. Police Canine Association; Chester County Lt. Harry McKinney, a master trainer for the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers; and Chester County Deputy Sheriff Brian Bolt, a training assistant.

Bryant, who joined the Chester County Sheriff's Office after spending nearly three decades with the Philadelphia Police Department as a K-9 instructor, said the impetus for the program started after he began receiving calls from other agencies that wanted to know if Bryant was still available for training programs. He forwarded the inquiries to McKinney, who decided that it would be efficient to use in-house resources for the new K-9 teams and that a county training program would also help to strengthen the skills of the existing teams.

The program gets altered to meet the needs of the participants. For example, part of the SEPTA training took place in transit. The group went into Philadelphia for several days and rode trains. The county K-9 teams did some of their work at area parks, such as Wolf Hollow.

Welsh said that the office's 10 dogs respond to several calls each week. Additionally, Melody, the office's comfort dog, often calms children who have to testify at trial or eases stress for all in custody disputes.

The next class, which will include teams from Ridley Township, will be held in March.

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Pasta Dinner Set For Military, First Responders January 25, 2017

St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 1136 Geigertown Road, Birdsboro, will hold a free community pasta dinner for servicemen and women, police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, along with their immediate family members, on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. The dinner will include all-you-can-eat spaghetti, dinner salad, beverages, and dessert.

To register by Monday, Feb. 6, call 610-582-4655 or email mdk101229@dejazzd.com.

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