Southwestern board eyes dissolving dept. while weighing coverage options

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

Members of Southwestern Regional Police's board are mulling dissolving the department, and they hope to have a decision made on a coverage option for 2020 by year's end.

Northern York County Regional Police and York Area Regional Police are jockeying for the coverage contract for Heidelberg Township, Manheim Township and Spring Grove, which receive police coverage from Southwestern.

It comes months after Southwestern's biggest financial contributor, North Codorus Township, voted to leave the department in January.

The department could feasibly continue into next year with its last approved budget, which was for 2017, if Southwestern's board fails to reach a deal with another agency or approve a new budget, said Walt Tilley, solicitor for Southwestern's board.

But, Tilley said, that scenario is unlikely. 

The board voted on Wednesday, Oct. 9, to have Tilley reach out to the solicitors in Southwestern's municipalities with suggestions for amendments to the department's articles of agreement to expedite the dissolution process.

One of those suggestions, he said, would be to get rid of the requirement that a year's notice be made to dissolve the department. 

Matt Bollinger, a Heidelberg Township supervisor who serves on the police board, has said supervisors want to hear from residents regarding the two departments.

Spring Grove Mayor Beverly Hilt, who also  serves on the police board, encouraged residents to come to the borough's committee meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 where the issue could be discussed.

It will be held at 6 p.m. at 1 Campus Ave. in  Spring Grove.

Matt Muir, a Manheim Township supervisor who sits on the board, said township supervisors will discuss police services at its next meeting, also on Monday, Oct. 21.

That meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at 5191 Wool Mill Road.

Under York Area Regional department's estimates, Heidelberg Township and Spring Grove would pay $371,804 for 80 hours per week each, and Manheim Township would pay $255,615 for 55 hours per week.

By Northern Regional's estimates, the department could provide service to Heidelberg Township  and Spring Grove at 90 hours per week at $393,897 each and  Manheim Township at 60 service hours per week at $262,5987.

Chiefs from both departments have said they could hire six existing Southwestern officers, should all the municipalities make the move.

Northern Regional Police has sent application letters to all existing Southwestern officers.

Sgt. Jamie Stalcup, Southwestern's officer in charge, announced earlier this month that his department's officers support merging with York Area Regional Police.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.