Lower Windsor's new police chief a familiar face to York County law enforcement

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Lower Windsor Township Police Chief Dave Arnold

Lower Windsor Township's new police chief — already well known among York County law enforcement — said he intends to make his face a familiar one to township residents and business owners.

"I believe I still have gas in my tank, and I think I have something to contribute," Chief Dave Arnold, 57, said. "Hopefully I can impart some of my knowledge … to the (officers) here, and I’ll still learn from them. You never stop learning — I believe that 100 percent."

People can meet the new police chief when he holds his first "Coffee with a Cop" event from 8 to 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the township's community building, 2425 Craley Road.

"In policing today, you have to have moments where you feel like you've made connections with people that equal out (the difficult aspects of the job)," Arnold said. "I want to fight back against the negative perception about policing. The good we do far outweighs the (actions of a few)."

Arnold was sworn in on Jan. 7 — his first day on the job — but a public swearing-in has also been planned, he said. That's set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at the township building.

As a York City police captain, Arnold had about 100 officers under his command. Chambersburg's police department was about a third of the size of York City's when Arnold became chief there.

Praised officers: The Lower Windsor Township Police Department has nine full-time officers, including the chief, and it serves about 7,500 residents.

Arnold agreed it will be a change, but he said certain basic aspects of policing are effective whether a department has nine officers or 99 officers and whether it serves 44,000 citizens or 7,500.

"They have good guys here, and I'm looking forward to working with them more," he said, adding he plans to do what he can to make their job easier and more fulfilling.

"I'm excited about being here," the chief said.

Arnold said his decades of experience give him the perspective necessary to make good decisions that will benefit the township and the department.

He also intends to do occasional street-level policing himself, primarily acting as a backup officer or filling in for a sick officer. While in Chambersburg, Arnold assigned himself to all but one after-hours DUI checkpoint, he said.

York City Police Capt. Dave Arnold is congratulated by York City Mayor John Brenner during a police promotion ceremony shortly before Arnold retired after 24 years with the department. 
(John Pavoncello photo)

Meeting the community: Arnold said he plans to do ride-alongs with Lower Windsor officers as a way to get to know each officer's style and the township itself. Ride-alongs are a great opportunity to meet people, he said.

The chief said he plans to visit fire stations, community associations, local gun clubs and the like to get to know the community.

"And to let them know we're here for them," he said.

Dave Sterner, who retired as chief of Lower Windsor Township Police in 2012 after 13 years on the job there, said he believes Arnold will make a good chief for the township.

"I think he'll fit right in," Sterner said. "He's got a lot of common sense. Always did."

He described Arnold as a top-shelf guy.

"Everyone respected the heck out of him, myself included," Sterner said. "I wish him well."

Long career: Arnold has so far spent about 35 years in law enforcement, the bulk of it in York City, where he retired as captain in 2008 after a 24-year career there. He and a fellow captain ran the department for eight months in 2003, when the city department was without a chief or commissioner.

He then became chief of the Chambersburg Police Department, a position he held from 2008 to 2016.

Arnold said he and wife Kathryn will move back to York County from Chambersburg and are looking for a home in or near Lower Windsor Township.

"It feels pretty good ... renewing connections," he said.

The Arnolds have been married more than 30 years and raised four children together. In 2008, Arnold told The York Dispatch he credits his career success to his wife's unflagging support.

Coffee with a cop

Family values: The family man — one of 12 children raised in Lebanon by a strict father — said he has tried to live an unsullied life and set a good example. 

"I hope my legacy is: He was a dedicated police officer who did his job, no matter what his rank was," Arnold said in 2008.

Arnold said he will make sure he fully understands the workings of the police department and the township before making any significant changes.

He also talked about his philosophy about being a commanding officer.

"You try to move the ball forward, then the next guy takes it farther than you," he said. "The important thing is to move things forward. I've always tried to do that."

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