Chief: Hellam's first-ever officer of the year a busy guy

Liz Evans Scolforo

Hellam Township Police Officer Tim Gingrich is a busy guy — making arrests and traffic stops, interacting with the community and taking on extra work, according to his supervisors.

"We really don't know how he balances it all. He's got a lot going on," township Police Chief Doug Pollock said. "We kind of tease him about being a robot ... (but) he's a guy you can count on."

Hellam Township Police Officer Tim Gingrich, left, accepts his officer of the year award from Chief Doug Pollock.
(Photo courtesy of Hellam Twp. Police)

And in between juggling all of his duties last year, Gingrich also managed to save a man's life, the chief said.

The 29-year-old officer's dedication and enthusiasm for his job led him to be named Hellam Township's 2016 officer of the year — the first time the honor has been bestowed in Hellam Township.

Gingrich, who's been an officer with the township for about a year and a half, handled 1,044 incidents in 2016 and investigated 22 traffic crashes, according to an email from Hellam Township Police Staff Sgt. Drew Heistand. The officer filed 15 felony charges, 108 misdemeanor charges and 569 summary citations, and he also conducted 614 traffic stops and arrested 54 drivers for DUI.

"With all the arrests he makes, he's in court all the time," Pollock said, adding that he then comes in to work the night shift.

"This officer gives more of himself than asked and often makes sacrifices ... to benefit the greater good, without expectation of acknowledgement," Heistand wrote in the email.

Gingrich previously worked as a police officer in Penn Township, Perry County, according to the chief.

Extra duties: Also last year, Gingrich took on the responsibility of becoming the department's evidence custodian and helped modernize the department's evidence system, police said.

Gingrich maintains the department's portable alcohol breath-testing machine as well as the in-car dash cams, and he is certified by the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program as a commercial vehicle inspector, according to police.

"Most significantly, Officer Gingrich somehow found time to volunteer for almost all the community events (attended by police)," Heistand wrote.

He participated in the township's National Night Out celebration, the Eastern York High School varsity club fall festival and the Halloween-themed "Trunk or Treat" celebrations at Hellam-area elementary schools as well as a number of other community events, Pollock said.

Saved a life: In addition to receiving his officer-of-the-year plaque, Gingrich was given a life-saving award for reviving a man in cardiac arrest on April 30, according to Pollock.

"He was dispatched to the Red Rose Bar for a man who collapsed (and) was on the floor with no pulse and not breathing," the chief said.

Gingrich used an automated external defibrillator on the man, then performed CPR on him until an ambulance and medics showed up and took over, according to Pollock.

"By the time they took him away in an ambulance, he had a steady pulse," the chief said.

The man, who was in his 30s, made a full recovery, according to Pollock.

"He never bothered to come back and thank us," the chief said, noting that all of Hellam Township's officers have either used the AED on people or performed CPR on them until medical professionals could arrive.

'Attaboy' list: The Hellam Township Police Department has never had an annual awards ceremony and has never before given out an officer-of-the-year award, Pollock said

But when Pollock became chief in April, he decided it was important to let his officers know their hard work is appreciated, he said.

"People deserved to be recognized for what they do," he said, and he keeps a list of all exceptional police work. "I call it my 'attaboy' list. It's something I knew was important."

Gingrich and other officers who received awards at the township's Jan. 19 awards ceremony were surprised about their awards, Pollock said.

"None of these guys asked for a pat on the back," he said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.