Damon named York Area Regional's permanent police chief
The York Area Regional Police Department's new chief was able to hit the ground running because he already had 14 years of experience under his utility belt.
Tim Damon became acting chief when longtime Chief Tom Gross retired. Gross' last working day was Dec. 11; his retirement officially became effective Jan. 23.
Damon, 38, said the transition was smooth.
"We worked together before, for many years," he said of his officers. "There hasn't been a lot of friction."
The York Area Regional Police Commission named Damon the department's permanent chief at its February meeting, after which a contract had to be agreed to and signed, he said.
"After that was completed, they made the formal announcement," Damon said; that happened at the commission's March meeting.
'Direct input': Damon said he wanted to be chief to make a difference in the department.
"You have the opportunity to impact the officers. You do that through policy, procedures and training," the chief said. "You have more direct input over their daily activities."
Damon said he has a list of ideas.
One of the first changes he made was to reorganize manpower distribution of his 45 officers to put more officers on patrol, he said.
"I got a lot of positive feedback for that," Damon said. "We have busy times and we know when they are. Being able to have more officers available during our peak times was what we needed to do, and it has worked out very well."
Fewer calls get "pended," he said, meaning held until officers finish handling more serious calls. In York County, 911 dispatchers pend calls that are considered minor crimes or are no longer active.
No 'minor' calls: But Damon said providing better service to residents is important, no matter what they're calling about.
"It's not minor to them — otherwise they wouldn't call," he said.
More patrol officers on peak shifts also mean officers can regularly provide backup for each other, according to the chief.
About the chief: Hired in 2002, Damon lives in Windsor Township with his wife, Erin, and their four children.
He grew up in Dover and graduated from Dover Area High School in 1996.
He then graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2000 with a degree in criminology, he said.
"Then I went to Shippensburg (University) while I was working here and got my master's degree," Damon said. The degree is in administration of justice, he said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.