Kennett Township agrees to five-year contract with its police department
● By Richard Gaw
The Kennett Township Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 at its Feb. 21 meeting to approve a new, five-year contract with the Kennett Township Police Association, the union component of the township’s police department. The terms of the new agreement became effective on Feb. 22.
The terms of the contract, which began negotiations last September between the union and township manager Lisa Moore, outlines agreements related to pension packages; benefit packages; medical, dental and life coverage; pay scale for officers; cost of uniforms and equipment; fitness reimbursement; the definition of full- and part-time officers; grievance and arbitration procedures; and drug and alcohol testing procedures.
Kennett Township Police Chief Lydell Nolt called the five-year contract “beneficial to both the department and the township.”
“It allows both sides to have a good understanding of where they’re going,” he said. “From the township’s perspective, the Association appreciated the fact that the township worked very hard to create a five-year deal.”
“When we started on this contract, Lydell and I looked at other surrounding municipalities’ police contracts, and this contract is very comparable to all of the other police departments,” said Township Manager Lisa Moore. “We’re not giving them anything that the other municipalities are not also giving their police. It’s been a long negotiation, but we finally feel that we have a very solid contract with [the township police] at this point.”
In other Kennett Township Police Department news, Nolt said that the police department has recently received a $21,384 grant from the Southeastern Regional Task Force, which funded the installation of an automatic license plate reader on a township police vehicle. Installed two weeks ago, the reader has already led to four arrests, Nolt said.
“This system will allow officers to use camera technology to systematically check vehicle registration plates for wanted suspects, stolen vehicles, suspended violations, and protection from abuse violators,” he said.
Nolt also praised the use of body cameras on township police officers, which has been in place since January.
“I would say that this has probably been the best thing I’ve done since I started here,” Nolt said. “The amount of data, and the integrity by which we gather that data, is tremendous for everyone – the general public, the police officers, and the way that officers are able to manage their operations.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Video and audio coverage [with the body cameras] is worth ten thousand words.”
Nolt also said that township officers recently attended “Bridges Out of Poverty,” a community-based program intended to assist individuals as they navigate out of poverty.
“Sometimes we play a role in people’s lives in certain stages when they are dealing with financial issues,” Nolt said. “We want our officers to have a good understanding of what these individuals are dealing with, and how sometimes our actions can affect them, both positively and negatively.”
In other township news, the township has created a community-based land stewardship volunteer group, to promote environmentally-beneficial land management practices in the township. Those interested in becoming a volunteer can learn more by visiting the township’s website.
The township will be hosting “Managing Your Streamside Property,” coordinated by the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, at the township building on March 6, beginning at 7 p.m.
Moore said that the township will soon be collaborating with PennDOT in an effort to apply for grants that will go toward the construction of a planned roundabout at the Five Points intersection in the township.
The township has begun rehabilitation of the historic Pines-Fussell home it owns, at the corner of McFarlan Road and Old Baltimore Pike. The work includes stabilizing the home’s foundation, replacing windows, doors and the roof, and installing an HVAC system. The township owns the house only. The surrounding property is owned by the Fairfield Inn.
Although the township has been operating under a provision that eliminates it from pursuing a possible tenant there for the next three-and-a-half years, it continues to explore future uses for the historic site. Defining it as “a home that is looking for a project,” board chairman Scudder Stevens said that there is the possibility that the home could be used by an Underground Railroad-focused organization.
“We’ve got feelers out all over the country,” he said. “We have connections in Hollywood, in California, as well as other areas where people have emigrated out of Kennett Square, in great diaspora.”
Moore, a member of the Chester County Landscapes 3 steering committee, said that the committee will be meeting on March 6 in Chester Springs, and that the public will have an opportunity to provide input, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Landscapes project is in the process of creating a comprehensive plan for the future of the county.
To address a growing concern of many residents who use the dog park at the township’s Barkingfield Park, township public works director Roger Lyle said his department has been applying wood chips at the dog park, in an effort to reduce the volume of mud that high traffic there has caused. Lyle said that he will be visiting Concord Township to see how its use of a playground mulch at its dog park keeps mud volume down, with the idea of potentially applying it at Barkingfield Park.
Finally, the Rosedale Road Streambank Rehabilitation Project has begun, and should be completed by the end of February.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.