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Retired West Manheim Twp. police chief pleads guilty to fudging ARD form

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

West Manheim Township's retired police chief has admitted to submitting a form that falsely claimed he had performed community service related to his drunken driving case.

Tim Hippensteel, 57, of Penn Township, appeared Monday in York County Court, where he pleaded guilty to the second-degree misdemeanor of making an unsworn falsification to authorities by filing a forged or altered document.

As part of his negotiated guilty plea, he was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and to pay court costs, according to court records.

Retired West Manheim Twp. Police Chief Tim Hippensteel

He also pleaded guilty Monday in his DUI case, for which he had originally been accepted into the county's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program.

ARD is a diversionary program that allows first-time nonviolent offenders to avoid possible conviction by instead completing a set of court-ordered requirements.

Prosecutors sought to have Hippensteel's ARD status in the drunken driving case revoked after they learned he hadn't performed community service but claimed he had, court documents state.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Amber A. Kraft on Monday granted the prosecution's motion to revoke Hippensteel's ARD. After that, she accepted his negotiated guilty plea to first-offense DUI, court records state.

Kraft sentenced Hippensteel to six months of probation for the DUI, to run concurrently with his unsworn-falsification case. She also ordered that he be on house arrest for three days, wear an alcohol-monitoring ankle cuff for 10 days, take DUI classes, complete drug and alcohol counseling and pay a fine and court costs, court records state.

Hippensteel could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

More:Probation for former Hanover constable who fudged court forms

The background: Hippensteel was accepted into ARD in his DUI case on Oct. 1, 2019.

Those accepted into ARD don't have to admit guilt, and those who successfully complete the program have their criminal cases closed and can seek to have them expunged.

Court documents state that on Jan. 29, Hippensteel emailed a form to the county's ARD administrator indicating he had volunteered eight hours for Skills of Central PA Inc. on Oct. 26, 2019, and seven hours on Dec. 21, 2019.

The organization supports and assists people with intellectual and developmental challenges, as well as those with behavioral health issues, according to its website.

The ARD deputy administrator flagged Hippensteel's community-service form as being "questionable," documents state.

DA's office investigated: The form was signed by a Skills of Central PA supervisor, who noted Hippensteel had completed the work, but an investigation by Chief County Detective Arthur Smith Jr. determined Hippensteel hadn't performed that community service, documents state.

The staffer who signed the form admitted to Smith that she completed it at Hippensteel's request and said he didn't volunteer at the nonprofit agency, "nor is she aware of any volunteer hours he may have done elsewhere," court documents state.

An administrative support manager at Skills of Central PA told investigators that the woman who signed the form had no authority to do so, according to documents.

The person who signed the form was a nurse with Skills and is no longer employed there, according to a spokesman from Skills of Central PA.

DUI case: Penn Township Police filed DUI charges against Hippensteel in March 2019.

They allege he was driving in the 900 block of York Street in the township about 12:45 a.m. Feb. 23, 2019, and crossed the center line more than once, nearly hitting an oncoming vehicle.

Hippensteel was traveling 22 mph at the time, documents state.

A test later determined his blood-alcohol level to be 0.259%, which is more than three times the state's legal limit, police said. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%.

More:West Manheim Twp. says goodbye to retired police chief

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Chief for 12 years: Hippensteel was chief of West Manheim Township Police from 2006 until his retirement in June 2018.

He initially was hired as a patrol officer by the township in June 1988, he previously told The York Dispatch.

A much-loved figure in his community, Hippensteel directed bus traffic in front of West Manheim Elementary nearly every day, parents said.

He has said his policing philosophy was that he should treat everyone the way he'd want his family members to be treated.

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

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