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Township Finds Police Tour An Eye-Opener

The entrance to the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department 

SANATOGA PA – There’s what is, and there’s what could be. The difference between the two, measured in terms of how a police department can function most efficiently, according to Lower Pottsgrove Commissioner and Police Committee Chairman Stephen Klotz, is what he describes as “a real eye opener.”

Klotz and township Police Chief Michael Foltz recently took a tour of the new Upper Providence police headquarters that opened during June (2015) at 1286 Black Rock Rd. in Phoenixville, and reported earlier this month to the Board of Commissioners on what they saw. “It made me realize how far behind” Lower Pottsgrove’s police offices are, Klotz said. “We’re really behind the eight-ball given where new buildings are going.”

Klotz and his fellow commissioners have talked for years about the need for new quarters for the Lower Pottsgrove force, and earlier this year looked at a proposal by architect Donald Wirt of Noelker and Hull Associates to expand the existing municipal building on Buchert Road to better accommodate the department’s growing needs. Its price was estimated at about $2 million.

“Our greatest weakness is how we’re set up,” Klotz told his board colleagues, noting that the flow of business within the department’s current spaces lacks order and efficiency. That’s not a personnel problem, Klotz quickly added, but one that’s connected to a lack of sufficient and well-organized room to perform necessary tasks quickly.

Better organization “would also mean we could be a lot safer,” the chief added.

The benefit of the Upper Providence tour, Klotz concluded, “was we know what’s out there and what we can expect. We know for sure we’re not up to speed here” due to the lack of operating space.

Although commissioners praised the Wirt proposal as the best they had seen of several offered to expand the building, they have not acted on it since. Board President Bruce Foltz said commissioners were also considering other options. Klotz is among those who favors enticing a developer to build new municipal offices and a police headquarters on ground elsewhere in the township, possibly as part of another project in the community.

The board is next scheduled to meet on Sept. 8 (Tuesday).

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Aug. 3 meeting:

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