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Chester County Press

Oxford Police Department earns accreditation from state commission

05/29/2024 12:02PM ● By Betsy Brewer Brantner

The Oxford Police Department successfully completed the lengthy process to earn accreditation from the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

James Adams, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (PCPA) Accreditation Program Coordinator said, “This certification is quite an achievement and reflects well on the Borough of Oxford. Out of 1100 police departments in Pennsylvania, only 175 are accredited.”

The PCPA introduced the Accreditation Program in the summer of 2001, and they have since accredited over 100 agencies across the Commonwealth. The accreditation process included three assessors spending two days to make sure all best-practice standards are met and complied with. They ride with the officers, spend time with the chief and write a comprehensive report. The PCPA Accreditation group is comprised of police chiefs of the law enforcement community. A unanimous vote is required to grant accreditation to a police department.

The benefits of securing accreditation has many benefits, including the following:

  • Establishes a credible framework for evaluating agency practices and procedures;
  • Reduces agency risk and exposure to lawsuits;
  • Decreases some liability insurance expenditures;
  • Improves law enforcement – community relations;
  • Increases employee input, interaction and confidence in the agency;
  • Enlarges the outlook and viewpoints of managers, officers and employees;
  • Identifies and highlights the capabilities and competence of the agency;
  • Furnishes a solid foundation for the agency to build upon for further progress;
  • Provides reliable methods to improve essential management procedures;
  • Extends agency accountability to the public and elected officials;
  • Enhances planning and innovative activities by all agency personnel;
  • Develops improved methods for providing services to the community;
  • Encourages problem-solving activities in the agency.

Oxford Police Chief Sam Iacono said, “This process helps us stay ahead of changing times in best practices. It is good for the community and the department.”

Borough Council also welcomed Tim Phelps, the executive director of the Transportation Management Association of Chester County(TMACC).

“Your Borough Manager and I frequently talk about active transportation and air quality,” Phelps said.

Phelps discussed the SCOOT bus service that connects Oxford to West Chester, then hooks up with SEPTA, taking people into Philadelphia.

“The Borough of Oxford is the gateway to Chester County,” Phelps said. “Currently we are making five southbound and four northbound trips.”

The bus operates Monday through Friday between Oxford and West Chester. Routes connect travelers to shopping, entertainment, medical appointments, schools and more. Senior riders account for 25 percent of the riders. The bus operates on two zone fares charging $2.50 for one zone and $4.31 for two zones. More information is available at

At the meeting, borough council approved a letter to request an extension to submit the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant post-award project management proposal in support of the Historic Oxford Theater Project. 

Oxford Borough Manager Pauline Garcia –Allen said, “There is a lot of work to update because of the fire. All five parcels are now under one owner. There is a lot to do, but those involved want to do it right, rather than rush it.”

Council also approved a resolution to apply for $200,930 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Watershed Restoration and Protection Program to support stormwater improvements that are part of the borough’s Pollutant Reduction Program.

Oxford Borough now has an agreement with the Community of Love Lutheran Church for the bio-retention wetland stormwater BMP project. The approval from council is conditional based on a signed agreement from the church. Council also gave its approval to go to bid for the Community of Love Lutheran Church bio-retention wetland stormwater BMP project.

Council also agreed to add Juneteenth (June 19) to the official list of observed holidays in the borough.

Borough council approved the time and materials proposal from Eagle Contracting & Landscaping, Inc. for Market and 6th Street repair work and the proposal from Caselle Software & Services for utility billing and financial software in the amount of $57,960. 

On another matter, borough council agreed to table the consideration of the request of Starr Road Farms, LLC in relation to Sycamore Crossing, Phases 2 and 4, to waive the requirement in the Spots, Stevens, and McCoy Site Work Punch List dated March 1, 2024 to install bicycle safe grates on all in-street inlets.

Borough council discussed funding to the Oxford Library and Oxford Area Recreation Authority, with council member Robert Ketcham saying he was in favor of discussing these contributions sooner rather than later. Other council members, however, favored waiting until budget figures are more defined. Council is in agreement that both agencies are essential to the success of the community. The goal is to define the borough’s guidelines for funding for these agencies.

Much time was spent on a discussion of the contributions from surrounding municipalities to these organizations. Council member Peggy Ann Russell suggested a letter be drafted by the borough manager and sent to those municipalities, informing them about the borough’s donations to the library and park.

Garcia-Allen emphasized that the borough has numerous non-taxable properties within the borough limits, and that affects the borough’s annual budget.

Council member Amanda Birdwell said, “We need to strike a balance. We are making decisions with taxpayers’ money.”

Russell said that the budget decisions are made in October, when more is known about the borough’s budget.

Garcia-Allen reminded council of how the cost of the MS4 regulations would affect the budget.

“We need to do our due diligence on the budget and be fair to all non-profits. We need to get an accurate picture of the 2025 budget,”Garcia-Allen said.

Carey Bresler, the Oxford Library executive director, reminded council about how many residents use the library for essential issues.

“I have people who are homeless, who apply for jobs and don’t know how to use computers. This is an essential service for residents,” she said.

Council concurred that discussions on this matter would be continued when more information about the 2025 budget is available.