Pequea Twp. Supervisors Meeting

Resident Sandra Craig, attending her first-ever Pequea Township meeting, said she was shocked by the Board of Supervisors' actions during their meeting at the New Danville Fire Company Wednesday September 18, 2019.

"Ridiculous."

"Unconscionable."

"A disaster."

These are a few of the ways Pequea Township residents described the possibility of downsizing their local police department.

The Pequea Township Board of Supervisors tabled an agenda item to recommend whether the Pequea Township Police Department, which has only existed on its own for two years, to downsize it to remain financially viable.

Because of concerns about possible financial discrepancies found during changes in the township’s treasurer slot, Board of Supervisors chairman Donald Purdum decided to table the issue until they’re sure they are making a decision with the right set of numbers.

Many municipalities in Lancaster County don’t have any local police coverage and rely entirely on Pennsylvania State Police. Still, residents repeated that they would prefer their township raise taxes before it cuts its full-time police to rely on State Police during low-incident periods of the day.

At one point in the meeting, Keith Haun, a Pequea Township resident, asked the crowd of about 80 people to raise their hand if they support a full-time police department. Almost all hands in the New Danville Fire Company bay went up.

“That should speak volumes to everybody sitting at (the board of supervisors) table,” Haun said.

Haun also delivered a petition of approximately 100 resident signatures in support of keeping the township’s full-time police department.

Pequea Twp. Supervisors Meeting

A show of hands from the crowd who support their local police force, during the Pequea Twp. Board of Supervisors meeting at the New Danville Fire Company Wednesday September 18, 2019.

Other residents expressed fear about if the township had to rely on State Police, a person who is injured may need to wait until police arrived to secure the scene before first responders can give medical care.

And the residents’ opinions of the board are another story. Residents critiqued the board, murmuring as supervisor Cynthia Evans-Herr interrupted the meeting and interjected several times.

One of these residents, Della Kreider, muttered to those beside her that the continuous in-fighting between members was “embarrassing.”

“It just gives a bad image of what Pequea Township is,” Kreider said after the meeting. “We’re not like this.”

Other residents thanked the supervisors for the work they do, but still asked them to protect the full-time police department.

Despite resident concerns, supervisor E. John Hlavacek said after the meeting he still believes the township is spending too much on the police department in proportion of the whole budget.

“We have a very large police department,” Hlavacek said of the seven full-time police force. “I believe we need to trim it a little more. We need to right-size it.”