July 17 – When the Chambersburg Borough Council decided to no longer allow fireworks to be set off in the borough limits unless someone has a license, a number of people were curious as to how that affected this Fourth of July.
A report was given to the council from the Chambersburg Police Department that included information from June 30 to July 7.
Allen Coffman, borough council president, explained, “The Fourth of July, they actually had 22 calls for service between 6pm and 6am on July 5, but only two of those were actually for fireworks related incidents.”
During that week-long time period, the police responded to a total of 352 calls for service and 22 of those were fireworks related.
Coffman continued, “So what was the outcome of that? Well, there were five warnings that were given. There were 10 ‘check the areas’ for fireworks activity, one call, which turned out to be legal fireworks. One call of the day after for debris in someone’s property. No citations were issued, but in a situation where warnings were given, they were compliant. The officers did not have to return to the area, which is great.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I’m split on that because the fireworks did start on the 30th. I was downtown going, come on. I mean, we’re not even on Tuesday and we’re starting to unload. So, look, this is a learning process and I’m sure the Chambersburg Police Department was going here are the new rules, we’ll give you a little heads up and then we don’t want to come back.”
“And I applaud them for that,” Coffman said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Last year in that same time period, there were 281 calls for service, so this year has seen an increase.
Coffman noted, “Whether that trend is the whole year long, I don’t know, but it’s probably something we’re going to find out as we get into the budget year and the chief reports to council.”
Ryan said, “I’d also be interested in the weather. It was much warmer and warmth brings out stress. So I’d be interested in comparing and contrasting. Here’s the weather last year. I know your numbers are up year over year in that same time period. What was the weather like last year compared to this year? I think that should be baked into that conversation. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe not.”
CPD was also visited by an assessment team that completed a report about the department becoming accredited through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.
Coffman said, “It looks like they will be accredited. That was the recommendation of the report. I think it was well deserved. Hard to earn, I think, but there’s not many departments in Pennsylvania that are accredited. I think this is sort of like that next step up. This is a step above and beyond and, quite frankly I have to give a lot of credit to the inspector Meredith Dominick on this one because she was spearheading this thing and she brought it over the finish line. They did a great job.”
Old Market Day was held on Saturday and the fountain was back in center square.
Coffman said, “Isn’t it nice to have the fountain back? I know we keep saying that, but that is the landmark to me when you talk about downtown and when it’s on in this hot weather in the 90s and that looks so refreshing. It’s great.”
Ryan said, “And a tip of the hat, too, as I was meandering around on Old Market Day, even at nine o’clock in the morning, the Chambersburg Fire Department had misting stations set up along the west side of the fountain. That’s a good idea and they certainly got a good bit of traffic for that hot day.”
One topic at last week’s council meeting that was discussed was traffic calming devices and stop signs.
Coffman said, “There seems like there’s been an influx of people asking for four way stops and I think Jeffrey Stonehill, our borough manager, did a great job explaining how they’re used, where they can be put, what you have to go through to get it adopted and put in. I think his explanation was good. I think the council needed it as much as the general public and I think it was well received.”