Police department moving in positive direction in staffing, culture and look to the future

YORK – The York Police Department is in a positive position, says York Police Chief Ed Tjaden, in all areas including staffing, equipment, setting core values and goals for the future.

After years of staffing shortages, as well as the need for more training and equipment – this year, things are looking up and Chief Tjaden had only positive things to say about the department as he made his budget presentation for the city council and administration.

“We have updated our personnel handbook, the city has been working on the core value aspect and we are always increasing our expectations,” Chief Tjaden said.

He said the ongoing body camera project led to the need for a necessary server and some funds for that purchase were received from the York Community Foundation.

Chief Tjaden said training for officers is constantly ongoing – last year alone they had 2,000 hours of all aspects and types. “The requirements keep going up and we are doing a lot of training anyway, but we want to continue to do more because we don’t want to be complacent or redundant.”

They have also expanded their range training.

He said the money already exists for the department to move to the eCitation program which automates the process of issuing citations.

In next year’s budget, the council will see the second of four payments for the ongoing radio replacement project – Chief Tjaden said this has been hugely successful and appreciated as they no longer have any issues with using their radios/communication equipment (obviously an invaluable part of first response).

He said he wants to see the department and its officers attend more public events and be more involved with the community. “Our ‘less tenured’ people are really wanting to be part of the community in many different aspects and that outreach is so important.”

The vehicle rotation will likely result in the purchase of one new cruiser in the next fiscal year.

And he would like to start updating the in-car cameras – half this next fiscal year, half the year after that.

“Our morale is on an uptick, hiring has been better,” Chief Tjaden said. “I truly believe we are stepping into a new era. The staff is excited and we want to keep that going. We have built something great here, we are super proud of it and want to see that continue.”

Councilmember Jennifer Sheppard said she wanted to comment on the fine professionalism and respect shown by York’s police officers – referencing an instance she was told about, regarding positive officer engagement.

“It’s obvious how much more your officers are participating in the community, it really makes a difference,” said Mayor Barry Redfern.

 

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