May 1, 2018Panhandle Civic Association Annual Meeting Minutes, May 1, 2018
Civic associations play a vital role in working with local government to meet the needs or solve problems for all residents, so it was rewarding to have good attendance at our annual meeting held at the Library on May 1, which was called to order at 7pm. The PCA begins its 44th year, and has produced a list of achievements to be posted on the website.Respectfully submitted,
Our speakers were Police Superintendent Michael Beaty and Officer Joe Butler, Director of Community Policing. Scams, car break-ins and traffic issues are the most prevalent issues for the police. The following are topics Supt. Beaty touched on in his remarks:
- Call the police if you are approached with a scam or see anything at all that looks amiss. Hang up the phone should you be asked to give information or send money and always protect your identity. Car break-ins occur regularly, so don’t leave anything valuable visible and remember to lock your car. Criminals are coming here from across the nation, it is not just local activity.
- When purchasing gasoline, skimming devices which steal your credit information will more likely be on the outside pumps. Use the gas pumps closest to the station. Medicare has ceased using social security numbers as identification, and if anyone calls posing as Medicare asking for your ID, hang up.
- The opioid epidemic is affecting all ages and demographics. In many cases the addictions begin through the use of a legally prescribed narcotic. Our township has not been exempt, and Narcan has been used to save lives several times a month. Parents are encouraged to seek information in order to recognize “vaping” or “juuling” products owned by their children, which can look like flash drives. One Juul pod usually lasts for two days, but young people may use them more frequently and could be inhaling dangerous substances.
Officer Butler made the following points:
- Residents are encouraged to notify the police when going on vacation. This is a free service and the police will then patrol the neighborhood with that information in mind. You may submit the information online at Tredyffrin.org, click on services and then online forms.
- Residents may call the Department to volunteer their driveways to be used by police for monitoring speeding traffic. This will allow them to curtail speeding since they do not use radar in Pennsylvania.
- Caller IDs can be faked, so don’t trust the caller ID. Hang up if the call is spam.
- The Townwatch program has changed, and now focuses on a Trail Watch by users of the trails, Dog Watch by those who walk their pets, and a Neighborhood Watch for those who monitor their street. There is a training program as Townwatch members act as ambassadors for the Police Department. If you are interested in participating you may contact Tredyffrintownwatch@aol.com. On the Township website, go to Services/Police/Documents and Forms. Under Police Documents, see the Townwatch application. Print, complete and send to 1100 Duportail Rd., Berwyn, PA 19312. Or you may contact Officer Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officer Butler runs a Citizens Police Academy every fall, which acquaints residents with police equipment and procedures, and a Kids Camp in the summer. Information about both programs is on the Township website.
When asked about his wish list for the Department, Chief Beaty first complimented the Township administration and Board of Supervisors for their support of the Department, and he stressed the high level of cooperation among all of the surrounding police departments which work together whenever needed. Currently, there are 42 officers in the Department, the largest in Chester County, with 6 platoons of five officers each. Five officers are women, which is impressive as there are so few trained women available to serve. There is no animal control officer, nor a Canine Program which was costly and redundant as the County has dogs available when needed, but all officers assist when needed to rescue animals or deal with wild animals. The department has one motorcycle and sufficient bicycles to patrol the trails. Tredyffrin is part of the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team that is comprised of approximately 50 officers from the Northern portions of Chester County. The team has 11 negotiators and around 40 SWAT officers. Our complement to that team is the Team Commander Lt. Brown, Lead Negotiator Sgt. Ryan Scott and 6 SWAT officers. Many of our current officers and detectives have served at one time on a team.
In the future Supt. Beaty hopes to add two people to the Traffic Squad and perhaps a second motorcycle. Already in the budget are new sets of cameras for the patrol cars. Each patrol car has an upgraded defibrillator to aid in heart attacks. Many years ago the PCA donated $3,000 to acquire one when the police were seeking outside funds to outfit each patrol car. Since then in house budgeted funds have kept the equipment updated.
When asked about school safety, Chief Beaty mentioned that drills preparing students for serious incidents are held periodically at all of the schools. He stated that the Department has a close relationship and works hand in hand with the School District administration in coordinating the safety of our students. For obvious reasons, specifics of the protocols are not shared with the public, but keeping our children safe is at the top of his priorities.
Following the police presentation, PCA president Christine Wright opened a short business meeting to hold election of officers and a roster was distributed. Christine will continue as president for another year, when a vice president will succeed her. Several important slots have been filled, but the secretary position is still open. We are also in need of a membership chair and a computer technician to manage our website and database and keep them updated. She extended great thanks for the faithful service Tom Frank has provided since the website began many years ago. And while he is moving on from the web duties, we will continue to rely on his grounded, thoughtful counsel in the Executive Committee. If you are interested in volunteering with the PCA, please contact Christine at email@example.com.
Karen Cruickshank, a former TE School Director, shared that the Board is still working on the budget for next year. Currently there is an unfunded balance of approximately $2.2 million dollars. Any unfunded balance would come out of the Reserve Fund. The Board is proposing a 2.4% Act One tax increase which is set by the State. The main drivers for the budget shortfall are the State mandated, but unfunded PSERs payment, Special Education requirements (again, unfunded) and rising enrollments.
Bonnie Witmer discussed her work in Tredyffrin creating better habitats for birds, and the creation of the Westover Bird Sanctuary on East Conestoga Rd. She emphasized the need to remove invasive species of plants to allow native species to thrive and provide food and shelter for birds.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 and refreshments were served during a short social time.
PCA Executive Committee
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