A former Hellam Township Police officer who is running for a newly created Manchester-area magisterial district judge seat said he wants to connect with voters.

Bruce Bartz, 53, said he'd answer questions voters may have about his experience and background in law enforcement. And he's encouraging voters to contact him at his home with those questions by calling (717) 654-3766.

"That's how I will run my office," Bartz said. "I will make that office accessible."

Bartz said his experience as a police officer and work in the York County Public Defender's Office sets him apart from the five other candidates seeking the seat.

Experience: Bartz retired from the Hellam Township Police Department in 2009 after serving with the department for 17 years. He also spent six years with the now defunct Windsor Township Police Department, which merged to create the York Area Regional Police Department.

As a police officer working in the town where he lives, Bartz said he policed with the philosophy of being fair.

He added that philosophy will carry over to his work as a judge if elected.

"As a judge, I'm going to be fair. I'm going to be impartial," he said. "If it's my courtroom, everybody will be treated the same."

Since 2010, Bartz has been the chief investigator with the public defenders' office where he interviews witnesses and looks over evidence. He also works as a constable.

The crossfiled Bartz said he brings a unique experience to the race in that he has worked on the side of the prosecution and on the side of defendants.

"I know my way around a courtroom," he said.

To further prepare for a possible judgeship, Bartz said he is enrolled in Minor Judiciary Education Board classes. In order to serve as a district judge, individuals who aren't members of the Pennsylvania Bar must take and pass the course, which is mandated by the state's constitution.

Volunteer work: Bartz is a past secretary of the York County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 73 and was instrumental in starting its labor council, which provides legal representation to lodge members.

For the past 10 years, Bartz has been a coach in Eastern York School District, including being a volunteer football coach at the high school. He has also served on parent teacher organizations while his children were in school. Bartz is also a PIAA basketball official.

He attends Living Word Community Church in York Township.

Bartz lives in Hallam borough with his children, daughter Brittney, 22, and son Trent, 18, and 3-year-old grandson.

The newly formed district, 19-3-11, has been vacant since being created in January 2012 by redistricting. The new district covers Hallam, Manchester, Mount Wolf, Wrightsville and East Manchester and Hellam townships.

Bartz is one of six candidates seeking the seat.

-- Reach Greg Gross at