Supporters of former Fairview Township Police chief Scott Hockenberry packed the supervisors meeting Monday night.
Supporters of former Fairview Township Police chief Scott Hockenberry packed the supervisors meeting Monday night. (Greg Gross photo)

While they didn't get answers to questions they posed to supervisors, supporters of the recently ousted Fairview Township police chief made their view known during Monday's supervisors meeting.

Many of the supporters who attended the standing-room only meeting donned white T-shirts that read "Save Our Chief" with an image of a faceless police officer in support of former chief Scott Hockenberry.

"I think what you guys (supervisors) did to (former) chief Hockenberry is deplorable," said resident Christine Jenson. "You guys have taken something away from Fairview Township."

She was among about a dozen township residents and non-residents to address the board about the November termination of Hockenberry, many saying they want the board to reinstate the former chief.

Questions: Some posed questions to supervisors, who remained mum on why the former chief was relieved of his duties.

In a statement read by board solicitor David Jones before the public comment session, he said the termination was a personnel matter and supervisors would not provide further insight into what little is known of Hockenberry's termination.

Hockenberry, 39 at the time, was appointed chief by the board in March after longtime chief Bernard Dugan announced his retirement.

He graduated from Red Land High School in 1990 and was hired as a township police officer in September 1994.

But that career ended in November when supervisors opted to part ways with the short-term chief.

Ousting: Supervisors voted to terminate Hockenberry during a meeting on Nov. 8 after an investigation conducted by an attorney with CGA Law Firm in York City.

Lt. Jason Loper has been serving as chief since then and was officially appointed acting chief by supervisors during a subsequent meeting, said William Brown, chairman of the supervisors.

According to the statement, the township received a complaint about the police department, which it investigated. During the investigation, "information revealed conduct that supported termination" of Hockenberry under the police tenure act.

The state law regulates the suspension, removal, furlough and reinstatement of police officers in boroughs and most first and second class township.

One resident quizzed supervisors about how many complaints were reported to the township.

While an exact number was not stated, Jones said, "We had a complaint."

Support: The lack of an explanation by the board led many residents to believe a widely distributed photograph of Hockenberry with a topless woman, taken at a motorcycle event out of state, was the reason for his termination.

Many said that the incident, which happened while Hockenberry was off duty, is no reason for him to lose his job.

"Then every single cop in New Orleans would be fired," said George Young, township resident and a retired Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County, police officer.

Other residents raised concerns that they may see a tax increase should Hockenberry fight his termination in court.

"As this continues, it comes down to the fact it was a township mistake," said Kymn Shaffer. "Why are my taxes going to go up to pay for your mistake?"

Still others put supervisors on notice that will not be receiving their votes when and if each stands for election.

Jim Mitchell urged his fellow residents not to wait for election day.

"I think we ought to research what it takes to recall you all as supervisors.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.