The Ephrata Police Department is a model of creative and contemporary programs designed to improve public safety within our community. Here are just some of the programs we have initiated:
Traffic Enforcement Signs
Traffic enforcement is a top rated concern for our residents and the Ephrata Police Department has piloted a unique program of encourages compliance with traffic laws and is a “force multiplier” that increases police presence in the area of enforcement. The “Traffic Enforcement Here” signs are placed throughout the community advising residents of future enforcement and serve as a visual reminder of this citizen concern. Although many times the signs will indicate enforcement will come to that location on a future date – sometimes the signs will indicate “today” so that violators will not ignore this important message. This program has been duplicated based on the Ephrata model in states as far away as Arizona, Colorado and California.
Special Services Vehicle
Providing the necessary equipment to outfit today’s modern police department is not always as easy as budgeting for it. In times of shrinking budgets and concern about taxes police departments must look to innovative approaches to provide excellence in service – the Special Services Vehicle shown to the right is just one of those programs. Building a coalition of a local bank, vehicle restoration businesses, and a small state grant, the Ephrata Police Department obtained this former bank mobile ATM truck, repainted and reconfigured it with the help of local businesses and placed into service as a state of the art command / crime scene vehicle. Maintained and driven by volunteer drivers in the Special Services Unit, the vehicle is made available to communities throughout the central Pennsylvania region.
In order to keep the cost of public safety services manageable, the EPD has aggressively pursued grant programs to fund many of the programs we provide. Between 2007 and 2009 the department received more than $57,000 in grant funds. Some of the grant funded programs include the TASER program; RADKids program; ENRADD Speed Timing Device, BuckleUp PA enforcement program, Electronic Evidence Tracking software, and a TACSITE thermal imaging device.
School Resource Officer
School resource officers (SRO) have proven to be one of the best community policing tools today, providing students, faculty, and administrators with a safe educational environment. In late 2005, the EPD was one of only two police departments in Pennsylvania and one of fifteen nationwide to receive a school resource officer grant through the U.S. Department of Justice. EPD’s school resource officer works everyday in the schools, with a focus on the middle and high schools. Safety, security, and building positive community perceptions of the police are the hallmark of this creative program.
Volunteer Services / Chaplain Services Unit / Special Services Unit
Providing the necessary staffing for all the services a police department provides is a challenge in these budget conscious times. The Ephrata Police Department addresses these issues with another creative program – Volunteer services. Citizen volunteers have stepped up to the plate to help provide some of these essential services. The Chaplain Services Unit consists of four police department chaplains available for victim / witness assistance and referral, notification of family members and counseling services to members of the department when needed. The Special Services Unit is an all volunteer group of specialists that maintain and drive the police department’s Special Services Vehicle freeing up regular officers to process crime scenes and /or manage incidents.
Vehicle Fleet Leasing
A model of fleet management, the Ephrata Police Department introduced the concept of police fleet leasing to the region. The fleet leasing program allows for the entire patrol fleet to be rotated out every three years and improves the safety and appearance of police vehicles. Because the vehicles are fully warranted and sold to other police agencies at the end of the lease to support the program, the fleet leasing program saves dollars over conventional purchase plans.
Youth Aid Panel
EPD spearheaded the effort to develop a Youth Aid Panel (Juvenile Diversion) in the community. Staffed with volunteer members that our trained to handle youth issues, officers can refer first time violators of minor offenses to the panel to divert them from the criminal justice system. Facing their victims and community service is the foundation of this program. To learn more, please click here.