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A Penn Township police officer and West Manheim Township native said his 32 years of law-enforcement experience has prepared him to be the next magisterial district judge for the townships.

"I have worked my entire adult life to help keep our community safe," Jeff Sneeringer said.

He said he's already passed the required state exam to be certified to serve as district judge.

Sneeringer, 55, said that, while growing up in West Manheim, his "sense of duty, honesty and fair play was formed early," by his family and by participating in Boy Scouts, 4-H and sports. He graduated from South Western High School in 1980.

He graduated from Delaware Valley College in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in animal science and played defensive tackle on the college football team for four years, he said.

"Drawing from my earlier years as a volunteer firefighter with Pleasant Hill Fire Department, I realized that I wanted to pursue an occupation involving community service," Sneeringer said, and he decided to become a police officer.

Longtime local officer: Sneeringer was first hired by Manheim Township Police in 1985, then became a West Manheim Township police officer in 1986, he said.

In January 1987, he was hired by Penn Township Police, where he's spent the past 23 years as a detective, according to Sneeringer.

"I promise to continue my service to our community with impartiality, integrity, dedication and honor to all who bring matters before the court," he said, adding he will bring "good old-fashioned common sense" to the job.

"I've learned there's always two sides to every story," he said.

Encouraged to run: Sneeringer and his wife of 32 years, Donna, have raised three children, all of whom graduated from South Western High School.

He said family, friends and colleagues encouraged him to to run for district judge "as a way for me to continue my service to our community."

"I believe my extensive experience has prepared me to understand and preside over both criminal and civil cases," Sneeringer said. "My work ethic and background provide me with a foundation of good judgment."

He acknowledged he could remain a detective with Penn Township Police but said an opportunity has presented itself to do something new.

"I guess I'm looking at re-inventing my career," he said.

Sneeringer is running for the position held by District Judge James Miner, who has been in office for more than 20 years and will retire in January 2018. Miner, 68, has told The York Dispatch that he'll consider being a senior district judge but said he and his wife also intend to travel.

Rekindling friendships: Sneeringer said his campaign has been rewarding in and of itself.

"I'm having the opportunity to meet people I haven't seen in years, and I've rekindled some friendships," Sneeringer said. "It's still a small town."

Over the years, Sneeringer coached youth football and baseball for the West Manheim Recreation Board and spent two terms as its president, he said.

He's officiated for the PIAA as a football umpire for the last eight years.

"I'm in the middle of all the action," he said of being an umpire. "I still love the game of football, and I enjoy (officiating). The kids make it fun."

For more information about Sneeringer's election bid, visit his Facebook page,  "Jeff Sneeringer, Candidate for Magisterial District Justice 19-3-05."

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

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