Potential for growth of police dept. discussed
By Eliza Mohler, Correspondent, Kennett Times
KENNETT – Much of the discussion at the Wednesday night meeting of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors focused on the future of the Township’s police force, and one of their finest was recognized for going above the call of duty.
Chairman Scudder Stevens opened the meeting. Also present were Vice-Chair Whitney Hoffmann, Supervisor Richard Leff, Township Manager Lisa Moore, Road Manager Roger Lysle, and Chief of Police Lydell Nolt.
In his Chief of Police report, Nolt reported that there were 481 police incidents in January 2017, including an increase in traffic incidents. He added that the steady increase of traffic incidents over the last five years are mostly due to driver error caused by distracted driving.
Nolt asked the board recognize the proposed Kennett Township Police Association, which is intended to serve as a collective bargaining unit for all full-time and part-time township police officers beneath the rank of sergeant in regards to contract negotiation and disciplinary actions. “This is a single, united voice to communicate with the Chief of Police,” Nolt said. “This, in my opinion, is better for officers and the municipality.”
During public comment, a township resident asked about the five-to-ten year plan for police growth in the township, citing his concerns about long-term costs of hiring additional officers. Stevens replied that while the question was not part of the scope of the recognition request, it was an important one because the township is mindful of the potential costs associated with growing the department.
“Public safety is our number one concern,” Stevens said. “We are addressing the issue that you raise in your question. Township Supervisors have been reviewing what the needs are in the township. We have gone from a one-person police force to a more substantial and robust force. We rely less on the State Police and we are able to respond to needs that arise.” The board voted to approve the recognition of the Kennett Township Police Association.
After his report, Nolt presented Kennett Township Detective Amanda Wenrich with a special commendation for her diligent work on a home burglary investigation in 2016 that led to the arrest of the suspects after Detective Wenrich was able to connect them to the crime scene through their DNA.
Nolt also noted that the public safety forum for seniors that was held at Crosslands on Tuesday, February 14 had an excellent turnout. The next forum will be held on Tuesday, February 21 at 10 a.m. at Kendal at Longwood in Kennett Square, and it will be focused on reducing crimes against senior citizens. Questions for the forum can be submitted prior to the event to KTPD@kennett.pa.us, or given directly to the moderator. For more information, please call 610-388-2874, extension 124.
Other business included the announcement by Moore of a proposal to carry out a community based land stewardship pilot program for Barkingfield Park, located at 557 Bayard Road. “This is part of the sustainable development mission,” Moore said. The pilot program will include reviewing open natural spaces in the park and determining how to develop them. The board approved a motion to move the program forward, and it is estimated to cost up to $9,250. Public meetings to review the program will take place at a later date.
Moore also mentioned that there is a new Royal Farms convenience store scheduled to be built across from the Walmart on Schoolhouse Road. Moore added that she informed the builders that they need to submit plans to Kennett Township as well as East Marlborough, because the property acreage straddles both locations.