The Swatara Township Board of Commissioners authorized the formation of a police department on March 7, 1913 with the enacting of Ordinance #6. The Ordinance provided that: “A police force, consisting of not more than five qualified electors of the Township, be appointed from time to time, each to receive $5.00 per month and their duties to be, to arrest all vagrants and all persons who have violated the Criminal Laws or the Ordinances of the Township.
This Ordinance stayed in effect until July of 1950. With the population now recorded as 9,350 persons, the Board of Commissioners took steps to organize the first full-time Police Department. The Board appointed Anton Maaske (pictured below) as Chief of Police, purchased the first police car, appointed a Civil Service Commission and created a Police Pension Fund. By 1952, the Department had grown to eight full-time officers with one police vehicle equipped with communications via a mobile telephone.
As of January 2010, the Department had a compliment of 46 sworn officers and three clerical staff employees. The fleet of vehicles has grown to five unmarked police vehicles, eleven marked patrol vehicles and one Crime Scene Unit. Chief of Police David D. Bogdanovic heads the Department with Captain Jason Umberger being the second in command. The Department provides comprehensive 24-hour service and is divided into three divisions: Patrol, Criminal Investigations and Community Services. The Patrol Division is divided into four platoons, each led by a Sergeant and/or Corporal. The Criminal Investigation Division has eight officers assigned as Detectives and led by a Detective Sergeant with one Detective working for the Dauphin County Drug Task Force and another handling forensics. The Community Service Division has three officers assigned and is led by a Sergeant.
Officers on our Department are given the opportunity to train in specialized fields. Four officers are certified in police bicycle patrol techniques and patrol in this capacity as needed. Four of our officers were selected and are serving on the Dauphin County Crisis Response Team (CRT). CRT responds to potentially life-threatening incidents throughout the county. Our first Forensic Technician formed the “We Team,” a group of police officers from Dauphin and Cumberland Counties, who have received advanced training in forensic techniques and fingerprint identification. The work, integrity and professionalism of the “We Team” was recognized in 1995 when the members were sworn in as County Detectives. The “We Team” has recently been renamed the “Capital Region Forensic Unit.” Upon request, the Unit responds to crime scenes throughout Central Pennsylvania. Two of our officers have been certified as Accident Reconstructionists and are members of the Dauphin County Accident Reconstruction Team (DCART). DCART responds to serious and fatal accidents throughout Dauphin County. The Departments’ small size dictates that every officer must have a working knowledge in all areas of Law Enforcement, however, most officers have specialized training in one or more fields, such as: Photography, Child Abuse, Sex Crimes, White Collar Crime, Firearms Instruction, First Aid and CPR Instruction and Computer Crime.
Swatara Township Police Officers respond to more than 19,000 incidents per year. The rising crime rate and the technological sophistication of many suspects has required the Department to continually upgrade the equipment issued to and techniques used by officers. This includes semi-automatic handguns to computers in the patrol vehicles. The Department is heading into the future knowing they can continue to provide professional service to the community only by keeping pace with technology and by providing their officers with the opportunity to educate themselves so they may use that technology without losing their humanity.