Going by the comments of West York residents who spoke during the public comment session of the council meeting Monday night, residents want to keep the borough's police department.

"I think the police department is doing a fairly decent job," said Jane Eckenrode. "I have no complaints with our police department at this time."

Eckenrode was one of roughly a dozen residents who voiced their support of the police department after the council voted earlier this month to shop around for new police coverage.

Letters that request proposals were mailed to West Manchester Township, Spring Garden Township, York City, York Area Regional and Northern York County Regional police departments.

Monday night's meeting started at the municipal building but was moved to the Reliance Fire Co. because of a standing-room-only crowd.

Questions: A number of residents said they have concerns about response times should an outside department provide services to the borough.

Cathy Crider told council members that she's happy with the police protection the borough has now.

Crider also doled out some advice to the council. She said that if they decide to hire police service, she'd like to see West Manchester Township Police patrol the borough.

"You go with the city, they can't handle their own crime," she said.

Trudy Doll said she bought her home in the borough knowing taxes were high but also knowing that West York has police and paid firefighters.


She asked council members if taxes would decrease if those services are axed.

West York's police department is made up of nine full-time patrolmen, including its chief, and two part-time patrolmen.

Fliers battle: One resident, Charlene Laughman, spent parts of the last week or so going door to door handing out fliers she made that support the department.

Laughman said she was visited sometime during the night recently by another person who left an anti-police flier that calls the department "oppressive."

"I think this is inflammatory," Laughman said as she waived the flier above her head.

Vote: Former council member Varlen Gibbs said he'd like all council members to be better informed before they vote on whether or not to contract services.

A date when the council will vote on the matter has not been set, but the proposal letters from the five departments are due to the borough on March 4.

If the council does do away with the department, the borough would lose out on community policing and the personal touch patrolmen provide now, Gibbs said.

"Don't just look at the dollars and cents," he told council members.

Former mayor Charles Slenker said he'd like to see any vote on police coverage be cast by the people in a referendum. Slenker's remarks were met by applause from residents.

At the end of the public comment session, council members Brian Wilson and Dawn Shue said they, too, want to see the question put on the ballot.

"Let the people vote," Wilson said. "Let's put it on the ballot."

The West York council's request for proposals for police services came as the borough police department's union is seeking to hold negotiations with the council for a new contract, which expires at the end of the year.

Council president Steve Herman acknowledged the council has received letters requesting negotiations and the council will enter into negotiations.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.