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Chester County Press

Kennett Township police association gets approval

02/21/2017 10:34AM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

The Kennett Township Board of Supervisors approved a request by the township’s police officers at its Feb. 15 meeting that officially recognizes the Kennett Township Police Association, in order to have it become the sole bargaining unit for the police department, and represent all part- and full-time township police officers, with the exception of the chief of police and any rank above sergeant.  The purpose of the association will be to serve as a united voice to interact with the chief of police, the township manager and the supervisors in all professional manners, including collective bargaining, discipline and benefits.
“This is the norm for all policing, and it’s much easier to operate this way than to operate individually, like we are now,” Nolt said. “This, in my opinion, is better for police officers and the municipality. It eases the operations, and the difficulty when you’re dealing with more than one officer.”
Recognizing the association as the new “voice” of the police unit is the latest step in the continued growth – and support of -- the Kennett Township police, said board chairman Scudder Stevens.
“The township supervisors have been reviewing what the needs are for police services in the township,” Stevens said. “A year or two ago, we went through the process of considering a regional effort, but chose not to follow that model at the time. We’ve gone from a one-person police force to a more substantial, robust police force that is actively involved in the community in ways that had not addressed done in the past. We have a smaller reliance on the state police, and from what I understand, a very modern police force that is able to respond to the needs that arise, and maintain a good level of communication with the board and the staff of the township.
“So we have, from my perspective, have had a positive result, and there has always been a discussion of the need to increase the police force.”
In his report, Nolt reported that the township recorded its highest amount of car crashes in 2016, a statistic that has spiked over the last five years, from an average of 150 car crashes per year to more than 200, largely due to the increase in vehicular traffic in the area. During last year alone, the township reported a record number of car crashes, plus a record number of driving complaints reported to the township, generating a total of 561 vehicle-related police reports in the township in 2016.
Nolt also reported that the police department, the township’s public works department and PennDOT are working on an intersection improvement plan for two township intersections: Old Kennett Road and Bayard Road, and Creek Road and East Hillendale Road, which have been classified as unsafe intersections.  PennDOT has informed the police department that the cost of improving both intersections may be paid for through federal grants. 
Nolt also informed the supervisors that township police officer Richard Bell will be leaving his township post, to become a Chief of Police in Schuylkill County.
Nolt also recognized Detective Amanda Wenrich with a commendation award for her work in solving a crime that linked DNA and ultimately led to the arrest of career criminals who broke into a Kennett Township house on Jan. 16, 2016, destroyed property and stole several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of property.
In her report, Township Manager Lisa Moore said that the Barkingfield Park Committee discussed the next steps for the park’s development, which will include creating a wildflower meadow, a sunflower meadow, an orchard, a rain garden and childrens’ tot lots. The township will approach local Boy Scout groups to see if they would be interested in assisting in building benches for the park, made from wood from trees that have fallen in the park – some of which are planned to be named in honor of family members of some township residents. Moore said that these projects should be completed by the summer.
Moore said that she has been working with the Kennett Borough Manager Joe Scalise on the development of the joint vision partnership grant between the township and the borough, to be applied for on March 1, in order to amend zoning ordinances for the areas that are contained in economic study areas. Both Moore and Scalise have been compiling a list of projects for the partnership. 
Moore said that she and Scalise are currently meeting with representatives from Longwood Gardens to seek ways to improve the appearance of the Route 1 “gateway” from East Marlborough Township into the Kennett Square Borough.
The supervisors also approved a plan for an application to include additional parking at Chatham Financial – which will total 161 more spaces in a three-acre parcel. Attorney John Jaros said that the preliminary plan for the additional parking was brought before the township’s planning commission, who made a recommendation for approval, with two provisions.  The plan was then revised to include an additional crosswalk.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected]