Chief Seace to retire in June

By on January 28, 2016

LR20160128_Lititz3It was an agenda item that no one was looking forward to announcing.

At the Jan. 26 meeting of Lititz Borough Council, council regretfully accepted the retirement of long-time Lititz Borough Police Chief William Seace.

“This is something I wish I didn’t have to discuss,” said council member Shane Weaver, who heads the borough’s personnel committee. “Chief Seace is the only chief I have known.”

Borough council president Karen Weibel called it a “bittersweet” moment, noting that for her too, Seace was the only chief she had worked with over the years. She commented that while she was looking forward to working with Sergeant Kerry Nye as the next chief, she would miss Seace tremendously.

Seace will officially retire on June 10. He became chief in 2004, after Chief Douglas Shertzer died while on duty in a motorcycle accident. Seace has been on the Lititz police force for more than 37 years.

“It’s time,” Seace said, adding that he feels confident that he will be leaving the Lititz Borough Police Department capable hands.

The evening’s agenda also introduced two new Lititz police officers, Cameron Burke and Tyler Weinoldt. On the same night that Seace announced his retirement, the two new officers were sworn in by Mayor Timothy Snyder, with Seace by their side. Both young men were sworn in while parents, grandparents, wives, children, aunts, uncles, siblings and other relatives filled the room.

Cameron Burke is 24 and a 2009 graduate of Lebanon High School. He was a football player and wrestler in high school, then attended the Harrisburg Area Community College Police Academy. He said that he is “happy to be able to work in a beautiful community like Lititz.”

Weinoldt, 21, graduated from Hempfield High School in 2012 and lives in East Petersburg. He graduated from the Harrisburg Area Community College Police Academy in December. A soccer player in high school, Weinoldt was on the team when Hempfield won the District 3 championship in 2012. He has also coached within the Penn Legacy and assisted with soccer programs and clinics.

“Lititz is a nice small community, and I am very happy to have this opportunity,” he said.

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Blizzard of 2016

Both Burke and Weinoldt have been preparing to serve the Lititz community as patrol officers. They will be among the many service personnel in the borough who have been put to the test with the recent snowstorm.

Borough council lauded the police, fire, ambulance and public works personnel who were involved in responding to emergencies and cleaning up after the snow that totaled between 24 and 28 inches, by most reports.

“Our guys are holding up. We have had our issues,” said public works co-director Andy Garner. “This was a huge storm with big challenges.”

Garner thanked Seace for his contacts in finding outside resources to haul away snow that had been plowed. According to borough manager Sue Ann Barry, some streets were closed to parking so that industrial snowblowers could completely clear all snow, which was then hauled away in dump trucks hired by the borough. Among these streets were East Main Street, West Main Street, and North and South Broad. The snow was has been piled high in the parking lot at the Linear Park off Market Street.

“This was one heck of a storm,” Seace said, adding that police worked well with emergency personnel during the entire ordeal.

Some streets are still not completely plowed. Several back streets are narrowed by the piled-high snow. With cars parked on streets, it has been difficult to plow around them. Freezing on roads on Tuesday morning caused numerous accidents.

Garner asked for patience from the community on clearing the rest of the streets over the next few days.

“We will get to it, we will work through it and get it done,” he assured. “This was a freak snow.”

At the same time, Weibel reminded residents that they are responsible for clearing fire hydrants near their homes. In case of a fire, it is critical for the fire department to have access to the hydrants. Weibel also suggested that the borough establish some type of listing to check on elderly or infirm residents to make sure they are OK.

Sinkhole Accident

One unexpected emergency occurred early Tuesday morning when a 19-year-old Lititz man fell into a 15-foot-deep sinkhole in the 500 block of West Second Avenue, as he was taking out trash. According to Lititz Police Sgt. Jared Hahn, the young man called for his mother, who was inside, and she was able to help pull him out. The man fell to a shallow part of the hole that was about 10 feet deep, and he was able to escape without injury.

Barry reported that the sinkhole was believed to have been caused by a water main and/or sewer main break, and that the public works department shut off water to that area while the sinkhole and the main were being repaired. She added that the public works crews had to divide their time between fixing the water main break and plowing snow.

“It was certainly a very busy day,” Barry said.

In other business, two special event permits were approved for the Lititz Walk for Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors on May 14 and for the Lititz Craft Beer Festival on Sept. 25.

Plans to allow parking on only one side of Leaman Street were abandoned after residents asked that parking on both sides be allowed on the narrow street. Council also approved plans to advertise for a no parking ordinance on the south side of the 500 block of Front Street.

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter who covers the Lititz Borough municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback and story ideas at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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