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York Area Regional officer honored for helping homeless man

BRIANNA SHEA
YorkDispatch

It was cold the morning of May 13 as York Area Regional Police Officer Scott Longnecker responded to the Queensgate shopping center. Expecting a disturbance, Longnecker instead found a homeless man sleeping on a bench.

Police confirmed his name is Robert.

"The night before had been in the low 40s and he was only wearing a T-shirt," Longnecker recalled.

Instead of rousting him, the officer took Robert to breakfast. Then he drove the man to a Dallastown thrift store, where some of his belongings were stored.

"He was not in good shape," Longnecker, said. "He said he had not eaten in a few days."

During the time the officer spent with Robert, he learned the man had been evicted from his apartment in Red Lion.

Days later, Longnecker returned to the store, but could not find Robert.

A store employee declined comment, but confirmed Robert has found a place to live and has not been back since.

Chief Tom Gross praised Longnecker for his interaction with the man, saying the officer is known to lend a hand to those in need.

"He is laid back, has a sense of humor and is always in a pleasant disposition," Gross said. "He likes to help people out."

To show their appreciation, Longnecker's supervisors awarded him a commendation to recognize his compassion.

Gross said it's not the first time Longnecker's hard work has been honored.

The 42-year-old officer has been on the force 18 years and started out as a bicycle cop. In addition to patrol duties, he serves on the York County Drug Task Force.

— Reach Brianna Shea at bshea@yorkdispatch.com.