York Area Regional open to providing service to Southwestern municipalities

Southwestern Regional Police Department in Heidelberg Township, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Another regional police department has expressed interest in providing coverage for the  municipalities remaining in Southwestern Regional Police after North Codorus Township voted to exit the department.

Southwestern's police commission chairman, Matt Bollinger, a Heidelberg Township supervisor, said that York Area Regional Chief Tim Damon had sent the board a letter earlier this month expressing interest in potentially providing services to Spring Grove, Heidelberg Township and Manheim Township.

But details about what that might look like are not available because of how early officials are in the process.

Bollinger said two representatives on the board, Spring Grove Mayor Beverly Hilt and Heidelberg Township resident Dan Schmidt, intend to meet with York Area officials prior to the next police board meeting.

Board Member Matt Bollinger speaks during the Southwestern Regional Police Department's monthly board meeting at the station in Heidelberg Township, Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“It’s nothing official; they’re just going to go down and get some information," he said.

Schmidt and Hilt have been talking with Southern Regional Police officials about a potential merger, and they have also been talking to Northern York County Regional officials about that department potentially providing service, according to Bollinger.

York Area Chief Damon said the department is open to discussing the possibilities. York Township borders North Codorus Township, and the two departments have worked together in the past, he said.

“So it’s pretty early and we have not had any meetings to discuss any of this yet," he said Thursday, Aug. 22.

Damon said none of the department's municipalities borders Spring Grove, Heidelberg Township or Manheim Township.

The last time the department accepted a new municipality was in 2003, when York Area starting providing service to Red Lion, according to the chief. Red Lion left in 2014.

Tim Damon has been named Chief of Police for York Area Regional Police Department.

York Area Regional covers York Township, Windsor Township, Dallastown, Jacobus, Yoe and Felton.

During the last Southwestern meeting, the board voted to have a feasibility study done by the state Department of Community and Economic Development to look into potentially combining resources with Southern Regional.

Also during that meeting, Northern Regional Police officials provided unofficial estimates for providing coverage to the remaining municipalities.

Bollinger said he doesn't want to make a decision until he has all the information in front of him and has time to hear from the residents.

“There is nothing definitive," he said. "Anything is a possibility.”

The police board has a meeting tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 28; however, Bollinger said that meeting will likely not happen.

The next police meeting is 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Southwestern Police station at 6115 Thoman Drive in Heidelberg Township.

Background: North Codorus Township officials, citing rising costs among other things, voted to leave Southwestern Regional Police by the end of the year.

The township pays about $1 million for police service, roughly half of the department's budget.

Next year the township will be policed by Northern Regional at $744,000 for 170 hours of service per week. North Codorus currently receives about 250 hours with Southwestern.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.