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Walk To School Initiative Announced October 3, 2017

The Township of Derry, Derry Township Police Department and Derry Township School District (DTSD) will promote Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The goal of Walk to School Day is to encourage students, parents, teachers, and community leaders to walk to school and work every day.

New this year, students and their parents may participate in Walk With a Cop to School. Attendees may meet a Derry Township police officer at the tennis courts on Areba Avenue or at Memorial Field and learn safe walking tips while they get some exercise. To underscore the link between exercise and good nutrition habits, participating students will receive a healthful snack of apple slices as they arrive at school.

As an incentive to participate in Walk to School Day, any DTSD student who pledges to walk or bike to school on Oct. 4 will have opportunities to win prizes donated by local individuals, merchants, companies, and organizations. To be eligible for prizes, students and a parent or guardian should complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y6RZGZW.

Families who live too far to walk or bicycle to school and families with limited safe routes for walking and bicycling may still participate. Prior to the event, these participants should pick a place to park within a safe walking or bicycling distance of the school. On Oct. 4, these individuals may drive part of the way to school, park, and then safely make their way to school.

Walk to School Day is part of an international effort to raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for bicycling and walking and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, crosswalk enforcement, reducing traffic congestion and concern for the environment. In 2013, Derry Township participated in a Safe Routes to School Audit and is continuing to implement recommended improvements to make walking and bicycling safer and easier.

For additional information, readers may visit www.walkbiketoschool.org or www.saferoutesinfo.org.

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Police Taxi Message Posted August 30, 2017

The DUI Council of Lancaster County recently unveiled its Police Taxi billboard in Lancaster County, located along the westbound side of Route 462 in Mountville. The Police Taxi is a mobile message board reminding observers that there are other options available instead of driving while under the influence.

One way it accomplishes this goal is by listing the cost of one ride compared to the other ride. A DUI (a term commonly used to reference driving under the influence of alcohol) or a DUI-D (a term used to reference driving under the influence of a drug, other than alcohol) will result in a ride in a police car and will cost upwards of $10,500 when considering legal fees, court costs, insurance increases, and more.

On the other hand, a responsible drinker would choose to ride in a taxi that would cost, on average, $20. The total average costs of a DUI/DUI-D are listed on the hood of the vehicle. The Police Taxi is available to attend any event, activity, social gathering, or training free of charge. A member of the DUI Council of Lancaster County can deliver it to an activity where it can serve its purpose.

Council membership is free and open to anyone from the private or public sector. The council meets the second Wednesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at Compass Mark, 630 Janet Ave., Lancaster.

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Auction To Benefit Police Unit August 11, 2017

The K-9 unit of Northwest Regional Police Department will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from a benefit auction set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, at 2327 S. Market St., Elizabethtown.

There will be one item, a 2001 Acura 3.2CL, up for bids at the auction. The vehicle, which has 128,000 miles on it, has had one owner, and all components are in working condition.

For more information, readers may visit www.hessauctiongroup.com or call 717-664-5238 or 877-599-8894.

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Medication Take-Back Event Posted August 9, 2017

South Central York County Senior Center, 150 E. Main St., New Freedom, will host a medication take-back event on Friday, Aug. 25, from 9 to 11 a.m.

The Southern Regional Police Department will collect unused or out-of-date prescriptions medications at the senior center. The medications will then be sent to a hazardous waste facility for disposal.

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Tobias Named Officer Of The Year August 3, 2017

The Northwest Lancaster County Regional Police Department has named Officer Charles A. Tobias as its Officer of the Year for 2017. The Northwest Lancaster Regional Police Officers Association members presented the award to Tobias at the July 25 meeting of the Northwest Regional Police Commission.

Tobias was recognized for his dedication and initiative in coordinating the department-wide aggressive driving and buckle-up enforcement details conducted by the police department to increase the safety of the community roadways.

As a field training officer, Tobias guides, motivates and properly instructs newly hired officers in the department's policies and procedures and helps them develop into outstanding community officers. Tobias is also an evidence technician for the Lancaster County Forensic Team.

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Northwest Regional Police To Host National Night Out July 24, 2017

The Northwest Regional Police Department (NWRPD) will host its fifth annual National Night Out (NNO) event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the West Donegal Township building and grounds, located at 1 Municipal Drive, Elizabethtown. Area residents are invited to stop by to meet and interact with local police, firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, and neighbors. The free event will take place rain or shine.

In addition to NWRPD, participants will include Rheems Fire Department, Elizabethtown Fire Department, and Northwest EMS. Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances will be on display.

"We just want to have as many residents as possible come out to meet us and the fire and EMS personnel on a not-so-emergency basis," explained NWRPD officer Mike Shetter, who has organized the event for the past several years. "This is a time they can look at the cars and trucks and talk to us. It's more personable."

Local nonprofit organizations and community groups will host booths that will offer information about the variety of services they provide, and there will be an assortment of activities for children, such as pony rides, a bounce house, a reptile show, and an obstacle course. Several costumed characters and mascots will be strolling the premises and interacting with attendees.

A variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase, including snow cones and milkshakes.

Shetter said that last year, NWRPD's event drew approximately 1,500 to 2,000 individuals. "Every year it's getting bigger and bigger, because now people know about it," remarked Shetter. "The feedback we get every year is amazing. People are coming up to us and thanking us for what we do and telling us the event's a success for their kids and they love it."

The evening will conclude with a fireworks display.

NNO is an annual community-building event held in thousands of towns across the United States on the first Tuesday in August. According to natw.org, the campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Aside from that, the events offer an opportunity to bring police, firefighters, and EMS personnel and residents together under positive circumstances.

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Columbia Borough Police To Host National Night Out July 20, 2017

The Columbia Borough Police Department will host its sixth annual National Night Out (NNO) event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at Glatfelter Field, 1249 Lancaster Ave., Columbia. "We encourage community members to come out and spend some time with their local police officers and to interact with the various organizations and businesses in town that will be there," said Columbia Borough Police Chief Jack Brommer.

Organizers noted that the hours for this year's NNO have changed from previous years to accommodate the addition of a grand finale fireworks display. "We wanted to do something special," Brommer said.

The free event will offer an assortment of activities ranging from bounce houses and vehicle displays to kayak paddling and pony rides. Free food such as hot dogs, potato chips, ice cream, and beverages will be served.

Waterways conservation officer Jeff Schmidt will present on water safety, and he will bring along several live reptiles and amphibians for visitors to meet. A canine demonstration will be performed by officers from Lancaster County Prison. Local emergency responders will perform a reenactment of the scene of a vehicle accident, including cutting a vehicle open.

Attendees who bring donations of new school supplies will receive tickets to use in the second annual Jail and Bail. "We lock up local celebrities," explained Columbia Life Network director Jamie Quinn. Individuals including Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz, Brommer, and principals and teachers from schools in Columbia will be locked up in jail cells at the center of Glatfelter's football field. Folks may submit the tickets they receive for bringing donations to help the celebrity of their choice to earn enough votes to be released.

More than 2,000 school supply items were collected at last year's NNO event when the Jail and Bail feature made its debut. "We (more than) doubled our collections last year by adding the Jail and Bail," said Quinn, noting that the Jail and Bail idea came from Columbia resident Robin Gamby. The school supplies will be distributed to students in need at all of the public schools in Columbia Borough, as well as Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School and Head Start of Columbia.

Brommer emphasized that National Night Out is supported entirely by community organizations, including the Columbia-Middletown Elks, Catholic War Veterans, Owls Club, Sunsnappers, American Legion Post 372, Forresters, Hambones Social Club, and Loyal Order of Moose.

NNO is an annual community-building event held in thousands of towns across the United States on the first Tuesday in August. According to https://natw.org, the campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Aside from that, the events offer an opportunity to bring police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel and residents together under positive circumstances.

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National Night Out Event Set July 20, 2017

Manheim National Night Out will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Manheim Community Pool, 504 E. Adele Ave., Manheim.

Attendees will enjoy a swim night with free admission, along with displays of local first responder personnel and equipment that will include Manheim Borough Police Department, Northwest EMS, Manheim Hope Fire Department, Mastersonville Fire Department, and Penryn Fire Department.

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Departments Plan National Night Out Event July 20, 2017

Four police departments, along with numerous other organizations, will be represented at a National Night Out event to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at Leisure Lanes Bowling and Golf Center, 3440 Columbia Ave., Lancaster. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

"It's a time to bring the public out to meet the police and firefighters," said event coordinator Sgt. Kim Geyer of the Manor Township Police Department (MTPD). "It's a good, fun night that's inexpensive," she continued, adding, "Everybody looks forward to it - participants and citizens."

Geyer has once again assembled a lengthy list of exhibitors. Police departments from Manor Township, Millersville borough, Millersville University (MU), and East Hempfield Township will be represented. MTPD will host a dunk tank - Chief Todd Graeff has agreed to take a turn in the device if other volunteers are not available - and have its latest acquisition, a 2017 Ford F-150, on display.

The F-150 replaced a Ford Explorer that had accumulated 135,000 miles.

"That's a lot of miles for a police car," Geyer explained.

The new truck will enable officers to transport bicycles and large pieces of evidence. A winch on the front will be used to remove downed tree limbs from roads and to assist in rescues.

In contrast to the other vehicles in the MTPD's fleet, which are white with red and blue lettering, the truck has "ghost lettering" that blends with the black body until hit with light.

"We wanted to do something different," Graeff said, adding that he polled the department members for ideas.

Other vehicles on display will include several from Blue Rock Fire Rescue, the Lancaster County-Wide Communications command center, and the Salvation Army's mobile food truck. While the DUI Council will not have its taxicab at the event, the organization will be represented.

A K-9 unit from East Hempfield Township is slated to perform a demonstration, and animals that work with Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response will meet with attendees. The Pet Pantry of Lancaster will accept donations. Geyer noted that the organization is in need of food and litter for cats.

Pilot International will offer information about Project Lifesaver, the program that enhances the tracking of individuals with cognitive challenges who are missing.

An alarm company will highlight home security problems and solutions. A local bicycle shop will host a display, and bicycle lights will be given away, thanks to a partnership between the shop and a Lancaster Bicycle Club grant received by the MTPD.

The Wilshire Hills Lions Club will run games. Geyer noted that the club also provides a facepainter, who will accept donations for the service. The funds, along with donations gathered from the dunk tank challenge, will be donated to Concerns of Police Survivors, a national organization dedicated to supporting the survivors of police officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Reformation Lutheran Church will give out water. Additional beverages from a local producer will be available, and dipped ice cream and novelties, as well as Italian ice, salty snacks, and hot dogs, will be offered free of charge.

Music will be provided by a local radio station. MU mascot Skully is also slated to appear.

The pet-friendly National Night Out event will be held rain or shine.

For more information, readers may call Geyer at 717-299-5231.

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Hellam Township To Host National Night Out July 18, 2017

The Hellam Township Police Department will host its sixth annual National Night Out (NNO) event on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the Barshinger soccer fields on Accomac Road off Route 462. The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., rain or shine. Area residents are invited to stop by to meet and interact with local police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and neighbors.

In addition to the Hellam Township Police Department, participants will include the Hellam Fire, Wrightsville Fire, and Wrightsville Police departments and Susquehanna Valley EMS.

Local nonprofit organizations and community groups will host booths that will offer information about the variety of services they offer, and there will be activities for children, such as face painting, balloon twisting, a bounce house, and a bike rodeo. Free goodies including coloring books will be given out to children.

The Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center will offer a walk-a-book program and information about the Summer Reading Program. A local company will have several reptiles on hand for attendees to meet, and a sheriff from the York County Sheriff's Office will bring a canine companion along for folks to visit with. Live music performances are also planned.

Free snacks, such as fresh fruit, doughnuts, cookies, potato chips, and beverages, will be available thanks to donations by several local businesses. Hellam Recreation will have food available to purchase at a concession stand.

Hellam Township manager Corina Mann said that last year was the first time that Hellam hosted its NNO at the Barshinger soccer fields and approximately 200 people showed up. "We always get a very positive response from people (about NNO)," Mann said.

NNO is an annual community-building event held in thousands of towns across the United States on the first Tuesday in August. According to https://natw.org, the campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Aside from that, the events offer an opportunity to bring police, fire, and EMS personnel and residents together under positive circumstances.

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County Receives Two Awards June 21, 2017

Chester County has received two achievement awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for programs developed by the county's Department of Emergency Services. The two programs - Care Under Fire and the Youth First Responder Career Training - picked up the accolades within NACo's Criminal Justice and Public Safety category. Both awards will be formally recognized on July 23 at NACo's annual conference and exposition in Columbus, Ohio.

"The 'Care Under Fire' program is a one-day, 10-hour training course for police officers that focuses on how and why it is crucial to provide lifesaving first aid procedures for their partners and colleagues while in the line of duty," said Bobby Kagel, Director of the Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

In the Youth First Responder Career Training Partnership, Chester County Emergency Services partners with the Octorara Area High School to present the Octorara Area Homeland Security and Protective Services Career and Technical Education program. The program prepares students to apply technical knowledge and skills required to perform entry-level duties in law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical technician services and other safety services. The program stresses the techniques, methods and procedures specific to the areas of criminal justice and fire protection especially in emergency and disaster situations.

Nationally, the NACo awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services that counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, and civic engagement.

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Artist Turns Gratitude Into A Fundraiser For The Force June 15, 2017

The bucolic scene of sheep grazing in front of the 1719 Hans Herr House as imagined by local artist Roy Peters offers no hint as to the trauma that prompted its creation.

On April 15, 2016, Peters was finishing a project in his West Lampeter Township home when the table saw kicked back and pulled his left hand into the blade. His wife, Miriam, called 911, and West Lampeter Township Police Department Cpl. Jeremy Schroeder responded almost immediately, as the couple lives just a few miles from the township's municipal office.

"The car door opened even before the car stopped completely, and (Cpl.) Schroeder jumped out with a tourniquet," Peters recalled. "He reassured me with his confidence and words of concern as he tended to my injury. He knew he had the tourniquet and was empowered to use it."

When Peters was transported to the hospital, the staff members were impressed by the device used to stanch the flow of blood.

"'That's a military tourniquet! How did you get that?'" Peters recalled one person asking.

The combat application tourniquets - 13 in all - were purchased for the police department by the Friends of the Force in December 2014 at the request of Chief Brian Wiczkowski. The chief had researched the devices and considered their purchase a wise investment.

"We carry them with us," Wiczkowski said, pulling a tourniquet out of a cargo pocket on his uniform pants. "The intent was to have them and never have to use them."

Peters has been the only person who has required deployment of a tourniquet thus far. Although he lost parts of two fingers, he did not lose his life, and he is deeply grateful. As a demonstration of his gratitude, Peters painted a view of the Herr House and donated it to the Friends of the Force, who are offering it for sale in a silent auction. The proceeds will be used by the group to purchase items for the police department.

Recently, the Friends group paid for another year of online training for the department's officers, and the group is also financially supporting the transition to an electronic records management system. Additionally, the Friends purchased equipment that facilitated the department's participation in a new crash team comprised of police departments from East Lampeter Township, East and West Hempfield townships, Manor Township, and Columbia.

"As much as we try to plan ahead, a lot of these things come up, and they're not budgeted for," Wiczkowski remarked. "(Regarding the tourniquet purchase), sure, you can wait, but at what cost?"

"I'm glad you didn't wait," Peters responded.

The donated painting, which features the oldest homestead in Lancaster County, measures 12 inches by 24 inches and is framed. It may be viewed at the municipal office, 852 Village Road, Lampeter, during business hours through Monday, July 3, and from Monday, July 17, to Monday, July 31. It will be displayed at Darrenkamp's, 106 Willow Valley Square, Lancaster, from Thursday, July 6, to Friday, July 14, and at the Friends' booth during National Night Out at the Lampeter Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Bids may be submitted via the contact form at www.friendsoftheforce.com through Aug. 1. Final bids may be placed in person only at National Night Out and then only until 7 p.m., after which the winning bid will be announced.

Peters invites other local artists to follow his example by contributing artwork for Friends of the Force fundraising efforts. Interested individuals may contact him at rpeters12@verizon.net.

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Memorial Honors Fallen Officers June 7, 2017

York County's fallen police officers memorial, held on May 12 at the York County Emergency Services Center in Springettsbury Township, recognized law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year's honorees were Curtis D. Sowers of North York Borough Police, who died in 1929; Dean N. Zeigler of Pennsylvania Motor Police, 1942; Henry C. Schaad of York City Police, 1969; Edward Eugene "Skip" Schroeder of York County Sheriff's Office, 2005; David D. Tome of Northern York County Regional Police, 2008; and David L. Grove of Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2010.

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Suydam, Hansen Receive Promotions May 31, 2017

Jason Suydam, a West Chester native hired as a deputy sheriff in February 2006, will take over as second in command of the Chester County Sheriff's Office. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Deputy George March. Suydam was promoted to corporal in April 2008, sergeant in June 2010, lieutenant in March 2014, and captain in April 2016.

In addition, Sgt. Kurt Hansen will be promoted to lieutenant. Hansen, who now supervises the sheriff's Civil Unit, was hired as a deputy in January 2005. He was promoted to corporal in December 2011 and sergeant in August 2014. Hansen garnered praise in 2014 for his restrained response to a dog attack. He sustained two bites, but, because he had seen a child playing in the yard, he did not want to harm anyone's pet. The incident led to a training program that has served as a national model.

Suydam grew up in Delaware County, where he lived with his parents and three brothers. After graduating from Ridley High, Suydam joined the U.S. Marines at the age of 17 in 1995.

After his military service, Suydam worked as a business manager in the auto industry but gravitated to law enforcement after several years, taking a job as a police officer in Glenolden in 2003. After joining the Chester County Sheriff's Office in 2006, he quickly rose through the ranks.

In the process, Suydam found fulfillment in administrative duties, using his extensive training - which includes stints at the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Marshal's Service - to supervise others and set policies.

Suydam and his wife, Toni Marie, have three children. He also plays piano, drums, and guitar.

Suydam said he appreciated the opportunity to learn from March, who came to the Chester County Sheriff's Office with decades of law enforcement experience dating back to his start as a patrol officer with the state police in 1969.

A promotion ceremony for Suydam and Hansen was held on June 1 in Courtroom One of the Chester County Justice Center.

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K-9 Training Class Graduates Honored May 23, 2017

On May 19, the Chester County Sheriff's Office heralded the graduates of the county's second K-9 patrol and narcotics training course during a 45-minute ceremony.

Addressing an audience of nearly 100 attendees, Chester County Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh said the graduation, held in Courtroom One of the Chester County Justice Center, marked the culmination of 10 weeks of training. Previously, the office's K-9 teams traveled to Ohio to earn certification.

The graduates were SEPTA police officer Jackie Trower and his partner, Jagger, for patrol; Ridley Township police officer Matthew Rowan and his partner, Hannes, for patrol and narcotics; Ridley Township police officer Brian Judge and his partner, Zork, for patrol and narcotics; Chester County Deputy Sheriff Mike Sarro and his partner, Dexter, for patrol; Chester County Deputy Sheriff September Spencer, the office's first female handler, and her partner, Luke, for narcotics and tracking; and Chester County Sheriff Brian Bolt and his partner, Yukon, who qualified as a canine trainer.

The program also included a tribute to Buster, one of the first K-9s in the Chester County Sheriff's Office. Buster, who died earlier this year, served with former Chester County Lt. John Freas. Welsh thanked the team for its service, but then became emotional when she made eye contact with Freas' wife, Wendy Baigis. Welsh explained that the dogs become beloved members of their handlers' families, making the loss difficult for everyone.

Welsh gave credit for the certification course to 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 Bolt, previously 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 county's training program started after he began receiving calls from other agencies that wanted to know if he was still available for training assistance - inquiries that he forwarded to McKinney. Recognizing the economic sense of using in-house resources for the new K-9 teams, McKinney said a county training program would also help to strengthen the skills of the existing teams, and Welsh readily agreed.

Welsh said that the 10 dogs in the Chester County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit respond to several calls each week. The most frequent involve searches of vehicles or buildings by teams trained to detect narcotics or explosives. Also in demand is Melody, the office's comfort dog, who often calms children who have to testify at trial or eases stress for all in custody disputes.

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Seat Belt Enforcement Planned May 23, 2017

Prior to the Memorial Day weekend and busy summer travel season, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will partner with municipal police departments statewide during the national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization through Sunday, June 4.

As part of the enforcement, PSP and local departments will join agencies across the eastern half of the United States for a border-to-border initiative beginning to provide increased seat-belt enforcement at state borders, reinforcing the states' focus on safety.

Additionally, to help ensure the safety of infants and children in cars, troopers certified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians will offer no-cost car seat fittings and inspections at various locations throughout the state.

According to PennDOT data, unrestrained fatalities decreased from 413 to 408 in 2016, while the statewide number of crashes in which people were not wearing seat belts increased to 14,992, compared to 13,534 in 2015.

Motorists are reminded that Pennsylvania's primary seat belt law requires drivers and passengers under age 18 to wear seat belts when riding anywhere in a vehicle. Drivers and passengers age 18 and up must wear a seat belt when behind the wheel or in the front passenger seat.

As of August 2016, Pennsylvania law mandates that children under 2 years old be secured in a rear-facing car seat. Children under the age of 4 must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. A booster seat is required for children until their eighth birthday.

For more information on seat belt safety, readers may visit www.penndot.gov/safety. A complete list of child passenger seat fitting stations is available at www.psp.pa.gov.

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Dayspring's NHS Chapter Makes Donations May 12, 2017

Dayspring Christian Academy's chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) recently raised money to donate to the West Hempfield Police Department and the Mountville Fire Department.

According to Dayspring's NHS president, Whitney Lohr, the chapter raised about $1,500 this year. Of that, $300 was donated to the police department and $500 went to the fire department. In addition, funds were used to host a dinner to honor approximately 25 local first responders. This was the third year for such a dinner.

Students raised the money through a Penny Wars fundraiser that was spearheaded by senior Caleb Sneller, who is the chapter's vice president.

NHS chapter adviser Donna Hurley, who is Dayspring's director of curriculum and instruction, recently received a certificate of appreciation from David M. Demeyer, chairman of the West Hempfield Board of Supervisors, in recognition of the students' gift. Demeyer noted that the donation to the police force afforded the department to work in the community beyond what its regular budget allows them to do.

Dayspring Christian Academy, 120 College Ave., Mountville, is one of about 25 Principle Approach schools in America, and of those, it is one of five model demonstration schools.

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Acting Chief Is Named Officer Of The Year May 11, 2017

John Michener, acting chief of the Southern Regional Police Department (SRPD), is rarely caught off guard, but he was surprised to be selected as the Officer of the Year by the Friends of the SRPD. Traditionally, the honoree is recommended by the department's two corporals and confirmed by the chief of police, who passes the name on to the Friends group.

"This year, unbeknownst to me, the officers vetoed my selection and chose me," Michener said. "It means a lot for me to receive this recognition from my own officers, department, and community."

Michener has served the community as a police officer for more than 15 years. He started with the Conestoga Township Police Department in January 2001 and continued with the SRPD when it absorbed the township department in 2003. Michener was promoted to corporal in 2007 and was named Lancaster County's Officer of the Year in 2014. He was appointed acting chief of police last year. Michener leads by example, performing all the duties of a police officer in addition to running the department.

"I still answer calls, conduct investigations, conduct traffic stops, work nights and weekends, etc.," Michener said. "Cpl. Robert Burger and I share time in correcting reports and logs and other administrative functions. I'm responsible for the overall production of the department and everything from making sure the police cars get their oil changed to making sure payroll is completed and submitted on time. Basically, I'm responsible for making sure the police department is being run efficiently and to the highest degree expected by our residents."

Meeting residents' expectations is important to Michener. In March, he issued a series of directives aimed to increase the SRPD's presence within the community by designating specific officers to cover zones with the jurisdiction. The officers are responsible for foot patrols and traffic enforcement in their respective territories, and they perform checks of businesses and housing developments as well.

"The idea is to have a more personal relationship with the community, to get to know what's going on, what the problems are, and try and fix them," Michener explained. "All of the officers here are on board and committed to serving the community."

Having qualified, dedicated officers in the department is a boon both to the acting chief and to the residents.

"I'm proud of the current group of officers who are working here and their commitment to the members of our community," Michener said. "Despite a decrease in funding and a decrease in the number of officers, combined with an increase in calls for service, the officers continue to strive to meet the goals they are given."

The Friends of the SRPD is a nonprofit organization that provides financial and moral support to the department. The group holds several fundraisers annually and uses the proceeds to purchase items not accounted for in the department's taxpayer-funded budget. Past purchases have included equipment bags, flashlights, cameras, laptops, and even a patrol car.

"The items bought not only make our job easier and safer, they improve morale amongst the officers in the department," Michener remarked. "We appreciate the Friends group very much for the equipment they make available to us, but even more so just to have the positive support from community members says so much."

For more information about the SRPD, readers may call 872-0352, visit www.slcrpd.org, follow @SRPDLANCPA on Twitter, and like the page at www.facebook.com/southernregionalpd.

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State Police Trooper Remembered May 11, 2017

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Officer Receives Merit Award May 10, 2017

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