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Chester County Press

Two full-time police officers join Oxford Police Department

01/12/2021 12:57PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Mayor Phil Harris swore in two new police officers at the council meeting on Jan. 11.  

This was the first hiring of a full-time officer for the Oxford Police Department since August of 2015. 

One new officer was hired to fill the patrol officer position left vacant when Sergeant Tom McFadden retired last year. It is anticipated that other officers may retire in the near future.  McFadden had served both as a patrol officer and a detective. 

Council approved the hiring of a full-time detective for the department at the last council meeting. That position is expected to be filled from within the ranks, so the remaining new full-time hire will fill the position of that patrol officer who moves up to detective. This is the first time in the history of the department that there will be a full-time detective.

Both of the new hires were already working part-time for the Oxford Police Department.

Officer Ken Massey has worked part-time for 11 months at Oxford. He previously worked for the Downingtown Police Department. He graduated from Oxford and lives in the Oxford area. 

Officer Paul Frie has been a part-time officer for two years at Oxford. He was previously employed at West Chester University. He also actively serves as a member of the National Guard.

Cpl. Scott Brown thanked Borough Council and the Civil Service Commission for their guidance and assistance in the hiring of the officers.

All full-time police officers are required to go through the Civil Service Commission in order to be hired in the state of Pennsylvania. Applicants must pass a physical agility test, written exam and a psychological exam. The Civil Service Commission then ranks the applicants according to their scores and places them on a list. Both applicants were at the top of the Civil Service list. Applicants who serve in the military are given extra points on the score.

Cpl. Brown explained that both of these officers already have the training and equipment needed since they have been performing in a part-time capacity. That fact alone saves the borough a lot of money and time.

Brown, who has been on the force for 23 years, said the full-time detective is something they have needed for years.

“The detective performs valuable work which may necessitate them going to Lima, Pa. to deliver evidence. They can’t be on patrol and do detective work at the same time. They have to work closely with the District Attorney and County Detectives in West Chester. They will also oversee major cases which requires follow up interviews, obtaining search warrants and handling digital evidence,” Brown said. “Digital evidence, combing Facebook or other media platforms, could require four to five hours just to review a 15 second clip. A detective would also need to access security cameras in the area and perform evidence inventory to maintain the chain of command. All of which takes a lot of time.”

Council welcomed the new police officers. The police department will be hiring two more part-time officers to fill the vacancies that were just created.

Police chief Sam Iacono opened his report by welcoming  the new full-time officers.

“We have worked for 10 months being short. Now we have a full complement of officers and will have a full-time investigator. Our vehicles are all back in order. We are working on three new softwares. One of them Crime Watch will go out to public at the next Police and Public Safety meeting. We are moving forward.”

There was other good news for the borough as council approved to accept the bid for the former Borough Hall. The winning bid went to Juarez Property Management, LLC, in the amount of $225,000. Council had hoped for the quick sale of the property to improve their finances for the coming year.

In other business Council approved the Application for Payment No. 2 for the 2020 Repaving Curb and Sidewalk Project to Gessler Construction in the amount of $395,677.80.

Council approved a motion to grant an extension to Sycamore Crossing for phases six and seven. The extension will run through and include the date of April 20, 2021.

Council approved Ordinance #940-2021 Amending Chapter 21 Streets and Sidewalks, Part 7 Sidewalk Construction and Repair, Installation of Sidewalks, Curbs and/or Gutters. Repair by Property Owners, Scope of Work, Deviations from Plan. 

Council has also approved a motion to approve a search committee to pursue the hiring of an interim borough manager. Council member Mary Higgins explained, “We have appreciated the job Arlene Harrison has done thus far, however we have not had a lot of luck finding a new borough manager during this time. We have decided to search for an interim borough manager so Arlene can devote her time to her position of treasurer.”

Council president Peggy Ann Russell said she believes they are having difficulty at this time because people are reluctant to move during the pandemic.

Pauline Garcia-Allen from ECON Partners updated Council on grant possibilities for the coming year. She will be working in tandem with interim borough manager Arlene Harrison and public works director John Schaible. Council approved the 2021 ECON Partners Consultant Agreement.

Julia Loving, a municipal contact for newly elected state sen. Carolyn Comitta introduced herself to Borough Council and told them she is excited for the new projects Oxford has planned for the upcoming year.

Mayor Harris told Council that the “crucial conversations” continue. He also announced that Shiloh Presbyterian Church will hold a Martin Luther King Day event. Lastly, he told council he was reminded that last Tuesday was his one year anniversary as mayor.

“Last year was a difficult year, but I am excited about what we can accomplish this year,” Harris said.

Council will continue to discuss a number of items at their next meeting, including the recording of the borough’s public meetings.

Interim Borough Manager Arlene Harrison congratulated Council President Peggy Ann Russell for achieving Certified Borough Official status. 

“This requires over 70 hours of credit in order to do this,” she said.

Russell noted that January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. She also said she will be sending out committee assignments to council members and encouraged them to let her know if there were any questions or changes.