Borough talks police hiring

The South Williamsport Police Department updated South Williamsport Borough Council on the hiring process for a new police officer at council’s meeting Monday night.

By June of this year the borough is expecting an opening for an officer. During the meeting, the board unanimously approved to sign a letter of intent with the South Williamsport Area School District to begin negotiations to establish a school resource officer to work within the district.

If negotiations go through for the hire, the police department will be in need for a new officer to keep up with call volume in the borough.

Two candidates already passed the first portion of three examinations needed to be hired by the police department. The hiring process has been slower than past years, according to department Chief Robert Hetner.

“It’s a little frustrating from council’s end and from the police end to think we only have 10 people to pick up applications and only four have returned,” Hetner said.

The candidates that pass all three examinations will be placed on an eligibility list that Hetner told the council he is hoping to have at an upcoming meeting.

One candidate then would be chosen to fill the vacancy left open from the school district hire and the other could be offered a position if one became available at a later time.

“If there is an opening down the road or call volume supports an additional officer,” Michael Miller, borough manager, said. “We don’t have it in the budget now, but it could come pretty quickly and the list stays good for several years.”

If negotiations for the school resource officer are finished in a timely manner, the district is hoping to have the officer start for the 2018-19 semester.

“We’ve been going in this direction since the fall and recent events in the country have made (having an officer in the school) a more serious conversation,” Mark Stamm, South Williamsport Area School District Superintendent, said. “It’s a great idea for the students, families and the community.”

In other news, the council unanimously approved a motion to allow the Community Park Improvement Association to donate benches and stonework to improve a section of the borough’s park complex.

“It’s a section of grass that sits between the sidewalk and the river stone and it doesn’t really look nice,” Miller said. “People will be able to sit and view the tennis games when it’s completed.”

The board unanimously approved the paying of February’s bills after the council was unable to make a quorum for March’s meeting.

During the meeting, Ben Reed, a local Boy Scouts of America member and district student, met with council to discuss a donation to the park complex of a handicap accessible swing set addition and a 3-foot tall handicap accessible basketball hoop. The board approved both of the additions, which the South Williamsport troop will help build in the park. Voting yes were Daniel Cupp, Joseph LaRue Jr., John Decker, J. Bernard Schelb, David Geise, Corey Lehman and Fred March. Voting no was Carl Nolan. Robert Cronin was absent.