As of the January 27 board meeting, I will resign as the chair of the board of the Cumberland Township Historical Society. While I am ready and willing to continue to chair the board, professionally, I no longer have the time to do the job properly.
It is also time for a leader who is in close touch with the community and can focus on such tasks as recruiting new members. I am not on the Internet, but the next chair could be quicker with communication and able to respond to problems in a prompt manner. The past few years have certainly been a time of learning and growth.
I would be willing to serve as chair at a later date if elected. For now, I may be able to emcee our quarterly meetings and am still committed to strengthening the relationship between the CTHS, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Eisenhower National Historic Site. Perhaps a committee could be established to focus on this task. I think it is important to work with the Cumberland Township municipal government, too.
I want to stress that this is not farewell. I will still serve as a board member, with my term expiring at the end of 2016. I wish to have a lifetime of volunteering with the Cumberland Township Historical Society. I have been fortunate to have fantastic volunteers and board members to work with.
This Society will have a bright future with a smooth transition of board members. It has been an honor to serve as chairman.
Chief Discusses Cumberland Township Police Department Past & Present
Cumberland Township Police Chief Don Boehs shared plenty of information about the history of policing in the community during the December meeting of the Cumberland Township Historical Society. Attendees were also interested in learning about the modern-day department, too.
Although Cumberland Township was established in 1749, it had no dedicated police department until 1957, Boehs said.
In the townshipâ€™s early days, when it was still part of York County, the York County sheriff served as law enforcement in the area. With the creation of Adams County in 1800, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas McKean appointed the first Adams County sheriff, who served through 1802. In 1803, James Gettys became Adams Countyâ€™s first elected sheriff.
Law enforcement entered a new era in 1905 with the establishment of the Pennsylvania State Police â€” the first uniformed police organization of its kind in the United States. That agency went through several iterations, becoming the Pennsylvania Motor Police in 1937 after the merger of the State Police and Highway Patrol, the latter of which had been enforcing motor vehicle laws since 1923. In 1943, the name was changed again, this time back to the Pennsylvania State Police.
It would be about 14 years later, in 1957, that Cumberland Township created its own police department.
By 1980, Cumberland Township residents were benefiting from 24-hour police service, Boehs said. This began a period of growth for the department that mirrored the growth in the community. Chief Barry Sease was in command.
When Sease retired in 2005, Boehs left a large police department in Montgomery County to make the move to Cumberland Township and take over the reins. He made that choice, he said, because of the residents.
Boehs knew he was entering a somewhat unique situation, with the township surrounding the Borough of Gettysburg and serving as home to two National Park Service units.
â€œWe get 2 million people a year coming to Cumberland Township,â€ Boehs noted. â€œThose 2 million people impact us significantly.â€
The department works regularly with neighboring municipal police departments, as well as with the State Police and National Park Service.
â€œThe 150th anniversary [of the Battle of Gettysburg] is a good example,â€ Boehs said. â€œSix months before, we had 100-plus agents and officers here. I believe in close contact with state, federal, and county agencies.â€
Every member of the townshipâ€™s police force is highly trained, Boehs said, with bachelorâ€™s degrees and specialization in various areas of law enforcement.
â€œTraining starts with the State Police Academy,â€ Boehs said. â€œWe have to take 40 hours of training every year and pass four written tests.â€
That training includes everything from updates on the Pennsylvania Crimes Code to procedures and community relations. Officers are also trained to handle situations involving those with mental illness or psychosis brought on by drug use.
And while the police department is available 24/7 to protect and serve the community, Boehs noted that residents can also take a few safety precautions of their own. For instance, watch out for email and phone scams. If an email looks suspicious, donâ€™t open it. If a phone call is coming from another country and you're not expecting it, donâ€™t answer it.
Residents can also help protect their home when they are away by setting lights on a timer, leaving a car in the driveway, and cancelling their newspaper delivery. It should also help to know that the Cumberland Township Police Department is just a phone call away, whether to answer a question or respond to a crime.
â€œI believe in community policing,â€ Boehs said. â€œMembers of the community are always welcome to call me.â€
For Cumberland Township Police Chief Don Boehs, the patch and badge worn by members of the department are significant. An older version of the patch showed a Confederate and U.S. flag crossed with two old-style pistols and swords, he said, while the current one depicts Sachs Covered Bridge and the five stars that signify Cumberland Township as the home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general. Chief Boehs plans to donate one of the older patches to the Society.
CTHS Members Cast Votes for Board Members, Bylaws Changes
Members of the Cumberland Township Historical Society elected one new board member and re-elected another at their quarterly meeting in December.
Thirty-one members voted unanimously to elect Linda Seamon, also the Societyâ€™s treasurer, to the board. They also re-elected John Horner to the board with a unanimous vote.
Following are the current board members and their terms:
Dec. 31, 2015
Dec. 31, 2016
Dec. 31, 2016
Dec. 31, 2017
Dec. 31, 2017
Members also approved changes to the Societyâ€™s bylaws that establish a three-year election cycle for board members and direct board members to elect a chairperson and vice chairperson for terms of one year each. Those officers may serve in that capacity, if elected by their peers, for an additional five terms.
Thanks to member Steve Tallman for tabulating the votes and to all members who attended the December meeting to cast your votes!
Help Us 'Meet the Members'
We want to get to know every member of the Cumberland Township Historical Society, and one way to do that is through our 'Meet the Members' column in The Courier.
If you're a Society member and would like to be featured in a future issue of this newsletter, click here for a form that you can complete online and submit via email or print and return via regular mail. (Be sure to open the form in a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
You may also express your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Jennifer Florer at 717-350-5568. We will ask why you joined CTHS and anything else you would like to share to help your fellow members get to know you better.
Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Programs
The Cumberland Township Historical Society holds quarterly public meetings, each featuring a special presentation on a specific aspect of the township's history. All presentations are free and open to the public.
All events are held at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren, 1710 Biglerville Road, Gettysburg, unless otherwise noted. Come and explore our local history!
March 2, 2015 â€” The history of Evergreen Cemetery
June 1, 2015 â€” The Marine Corps maneuvers and reenactment of Pickettâ€™s charge that took place in 1922 at the Gettysburg National Military Park
Sept. 14, 2015 â€” The history of the Mason-Dixon Line
Dec. 7, 2015 â€” A look at Fantasyland, Gettysburgâ€™s former theme park
Watch your email for more information on each event about two weeks before the scheduled date. Details will also be posted on theCTHS website.