by Jonathan Weaver
In the past three months, the Manor Township Police Department has had two of its part-time officers resign, and Chief Michael Karabin heard rumors a third might soon also leave.
Since a third of the nine-member department might be gone by the April regular meeting, Chief Karabin recommended at last night’s meeting that township supervisors approve a new hire.
The latest application for employment came from County Detective and Deputy Sheriff Frank Pitzer.
Pitzer, who lives in Ford City (Bethel Township), also is Area Coordinator for the Armstrong County Narcotics Enforcement Team and works for the Ford City Borough Police Department.
Chief Karabin and Sgt. Terry Bish said they recommended Pitzer’s immediate hire due to his experience and to allow him to work as soon as April.
“I don’t think we’re going to lose him in the near-future. He’s not like some of these officers where you train them for six months, six weeks and then you lose them because some department hired them full-time,” Chief Karabin said. “I think he’d be a great asset to this department. He’s well-liked by all of our guys.
“He’s a man like with five or six years on the job already.”
However, Supervisors McGinnis and Paul Rearick were concerned that Pitzer was not interviewed by the supervisors as is done by all other employees.
Supervisors and a representative from the police department are scheduled to interview Pitzer next week and possibly hire him at a special meeting that evening depending on if any other applications are received.
Chief Karabin said Pitzer would not need any additional training – only verification through the state Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission on his additional hiring.
Former Officer Bill Rupert resigned in December a month before being sworn in as Armstrong County Sheriff and Officer Christopher Thiel resigned in February.
Supervisors are also to meet with Website Administrator Anthony Arduini of Rural Valley that evening regarding their website.
Several purchases were also authorized for the police department.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to purchase an evidence locker, vehicle camera and taser cartridges out of the department’s 2014 budget allocation.
Sgt. Bish explained the vehicle camera purchase of $1,895 largely came thanks to community donations. – $1,000 in January from the Ford City Eagles and $500 from the Ford City VFW.
“These are replacing the (cameras) already in there – they’ve become outdated. They used the tape system and these would use SD cards,” Sgt. Bish said.
Letters will also be sent out to request future donations to enable the department to purchase a second camera for the second police car.
“We’re trying to get the donations to cover the complete cost of two of them, which we very well may, but it just takes time for these organizations to build up their money,” Sgt. Bish said.
The cameras are also portable and can be taken outside of the vehicle during a traffic stop.
A piece of equipment will also be given away, as supervisors and police officials agreed to give a light-blue shotgun to Officer Jacob Ingram.
The shotgun – which according to Chief Karabin is at least 22 years old – is no longer used by police officers due to other firearms and technology.
Officer Ingram is to pay all transfer fees to transfer ownership from Manor Township.
Taser cartridges were also budged for by police officials to prepare for recertification in May.