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After allegation, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich makes 2 drug tests public

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

In response to an allegation by a former police officer that citizens have complained about him smoking crack cocaine in local bars, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich made public the results of two drug tests he took, which showed no drugs in his system.

"This has become an issue of public trust," he told The York Dispatch on Friday afternoon.

In Friday's edition, The York Dispatch reported that a resignation letter by York City Police Officer Justin Main made that allegation, as well as others involving overtime and morale issues.

Main, 28, said he submitted his letter to the York City Police Department on Tuesday and shared it with fellow officers, who disseminated it on Facebook and to the media.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich is joined by York City Police Chief Osborne "Moe" Robinson III, left, during a rally at Continental Square Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Protesters gathered in the city for a second straight day calling for justice after George Floyd died after an altercation with Minneapolis police officers. Over 1,000 people attended the rally. Bill Kalina photo

Helfrich said he took the first urine test in January 2018 after taking office.

He said he took the second test on Friday, "to absolutely refute any question of these false accusations ... or any other accusations regarding marijuana or anything else."

Copies of those test results state the mayor was negative for marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines and PCP.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich

Main's resignation letter alleges that Helfrich has been seen smoking crack in local bars and being "overly intoxicated in public."

'Laughable': "It's laughable and not true," the mayor said on Thursday. "Nobody should ever be treated any differently by the York City Police Department, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, economic status or political position — including me."

Helfrich said he considered Main an asset to the police department and was surprised he "would make such wild allegations."

The mayor has also responded on Facebook to the allegation.

York Mayor Michael Helfrich on Aug. 7, 2020, made public the results of two drug tests he took, both of which were negative for illegal drugs. The first test he took in January 2018 after taking office, the second was taken Aug. 7, 2020, in response to an allegation from a former city police officer.

Main, who was hired nearly five years ago, has also alleged that city officers' morale is at an all-time low and that officers aren't being supported by the mayor or by Police Commissioner Osborne "Moe" Robinson.

"The political influence that is taking hold of this profession in the York City Police Department is becoming so detrimental that officers do not believe they can be cops anymore," Main wrote.

Police 'desperately' needed: Helfrich said he is not anti-police and thanks city officers when he speaks with them. He also defended Robinson.

"What I need in my administration and in our community are people that can help bridge the gap that seems to be widening between our police departments and our citizens," the mayor said. "Through his actions ... (Robinson) has proven to me that he is the bridge that York needs."

York Mayor Michael Helfrich on Aug. 7, 2020, made public the results of two drug tests he took, both of which were negative for illegal drugs. The first test he took in January 2018 after taking office, the second was taken Aug. 7, 2020, in response to an allegation from a former city police officer.

Helfrich also said city residents and officials need "great police officers that respect our citizens and respect the rule of law," and that the need goes both ways.

"This city desperately needs the police, and we desperately need the citizens to trust the police so that we can all work in unison to stop the tiny percentage of violent individuals who are destroying families and our city," he said.

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

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