Springettsbury Township Board Recognizes Police Department
The Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors approved Resolution 2020-45 on June 25, 2020, recognizing and commending the efforts of the Springettsbury Township Police Department for its dedication to maintaining the highest standards of police services and for striving to insure that all citizens are treated fairly and with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
The Springettsbury Township Police Department is accredited through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. The Police Department has partnered with the United States Department of Justice to review every aspect of the department and assist in bringing the Police Department’s polices and standards up to national best practice level.
The Police Department implemented a Body-Worn Camera program in 2018 to improve transparency with the community.
The Police Department’s accreditation, partnership with the Department of Justice, the Body- Worn Camera program, in conjunction with policies and practices have all been utilized to provide the highest standards of police services for the community.
The Police Department has implemented policies and practices in the following areas: Use of Force, Community Engagement, Police Officer Accountability, Police Department Accountability, and Officer Wellness.
Use of Force
Use of force is defined as any force used to overcome a subject who is non-compliant.
Since 2010, the Police Department has restricted the use of chokeholds only for those instances where the use of deadly force is warranted.
The Police Department requires de-escalation to be used by all police officers when the situation allows and does not jeopardize the safety of the officer, suspect, victim, or other members of the public.
Police Department policy requires that police officers have a duty to intercede if they
witness another police officer using excessive or unnecessary force.
Police Department policy requires that every use of force is reported and reviewed.
Police Department policy requires that every use of force goes through three levels of review: immediate supervisor, Lieutenant, and Chief. All in-car camera and body-worn camera footage is reviewed as part of this process.
The Police Department was a founding member of and actively participates in the Pastors and Chiefs organization. This program was developed with the goal of ensuring social justice and developing “One York” where all people are treated fairly and with the dignity and respect they deserve.
In 2018, the Police Department developed a Community Service Officer program to allow options for a non-sworn member of the department to respond to and handle non-emergency, quality of life calls within the Township. This program gives members of the community a feeling of security as the Community Service Officer carries no weapons and therefore is less of an authority/crime preventionfigure.
The Police Department has designated each officer of the department as Community Policing Officers. The overarching goal of the Community Policing Initiative is to guide and increase community interaction with and support of the Police Department and its personnel with the goal of improving residents trust, understanding, and satisfaction with police services.
Police Officer Accountability
The Police Department has enacted an Early Intervention System (EIS) to increase officer accountability. This program is intended to assist the Police Department in identifying officers and other employees whose performance warrants review and, where appropriate, intervene in circumstances that may have negative consequences for the employee, fellow employees, the agency, and/or the general public. Factors tracked through the EIS include: Internal Investigations, citizen complaints, disciplinary actions, vehicle pursuits, use of force incidents, police vehicle collisions, and prisoner injuries. A select number of any of these factors individually, or combination thereof, will initiate an officer review by the department’s EIS Team.
The Police Department has reformatted its Officer Appraisal System to incorporate it with the EIS. Officer Appraisals are now done on a quarterly basis for every officer. In the quarterly appraisal sessions, officers are informed of deficiencies and have the ability to discuss any issue with their immediate supervisor. The appraisal forms are reviewed by the officer’s immediate supervisor, the Operations Lieutenant, and the Chief.
The Police Department has initiated random Body-Worn Camera reviews for every officer. The Platoon Sergeants randomly select a video from every officer in their platoons and review the video content. They examine actions of the officer to ascertain if they are in compliance with the law, all applicable policies, and the tenets of unbiased policing and procedural justice. Any action found to not be in compliance is handled through the department’s disciplinary system.
The Police Department has updated complaint and compliment forms to allow for easier access and ability for people to report a concern with an officer or report officers doing a good job for the community. The forms are available online on the Police and Township websites, in the Police Department lobby, in the Township building lobby, and are carried by every officer on patrol for ease of access to the forms. Every complaint or compliment is investigated, and the appropriate action taken.
Police Department Accountability
The supervisory team of the Police Department reviews every policy, General Order, and the Rules of Conduct on a yearly basis. This is done in stages, several policies
reviewed each month at monthly Supervisor’s Meetings. Additionally, if an incident does occur involving an officer, in addition to the investigation of the officer, the applicable policies, General Orders, and Rule of Conduct are reviewed to determine their validity.
Every candidate for the position of Police Officer is thoroughly vetted prior to an offer of employment being made. Testing includes a physical examination, a psychological examination, a polygraph examination, a physical agility test, a complete and thorough background investigation, and a ride-along with officers to determine the candidate’s ability to work in the police field, specifically in Springettsbury Township.
The ability to report officer misconduct has been made easier through the updated complaint and compliment policy. This allows for a more agile Internal Investigations format where complaints are not stifled by a cumbersome reporting process. Every complaint of misconduct is thoroughly investigated by either Springettsbury Township Internal Investigations, or in matters of gross misconduct, by an outside agency such as the York County District Attorney’s Office or the Pennsylvania State Police.
Springettsbury Township offers a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to all employees. This program provides officers who are having difficulties in their work or personal lives a contact to doctors and psychologists to help them sort through those issues. The program is completely confidential and no officer contact with EAP is reported to the department.
In 2019, the Police Department initiated the Springettsbury Fit program. This program is designed for officers to not only survive a Law Enforcement career, but to thrive in the career. The program covers every aspect of life to include financial, relationships, mental health, healthy eating, physical conditioning, and work/life balance. The main goal of the program is for officers to understand that it is OK to not be OK, and to seek the help they need to thrive in this career.
The Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Swomley, Vice Chairman George Dvoryak, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Charles Wurster, Don Bishop, and Robert Cox recognize and commend the Springettsbury Township Police Department for its professionalism and dedication to the equal application of the law for all citizens.
Chairman, Board of Supervisors