A Conversation with Senator Brubaker
Impact of Potential Ephrata Barracks Closing Examined
The consolidation of Pennsylvania State Police Troop J in Lancaster County and the potential closure of the Ephrata barracks have generated a great deal of local concern recently from lawmakers and community residents. Along with other local legislators in the Lancaster delegation, I have urged the State Police to carefully consider the impact this closure and consolidation could have on public safety in the region. The Senate Law and Justice Committee and the House Judiciary Committee held a joint hearing in Gap recently to address some of the concerns that have been expressed by citizens, lawmakers and public safety advocates.
One of the most serious concerns regarding the removal of Troop J's command status is the potential loss of some special units, such as forensics, vice units, accident reconstruction and fire marshals. The loss of these units could lead to long delays in response times and fewer resources available to investigate serious crimes. During the hearing, State Police officials announced that special investigative units would remain in Lancaster under the realignment plan, which is welcome news for our communities.
The hearing also included testimony from Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, State Police Fire Marshal Brian Herr, retired PSP Colonel Bob Courtwright, Pennsylvania State Troopers Association President Joseph Kovel, Lancaster Bureau of Police Chief Keith Sadler and Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge President Les Neri. In addition to addressing questions regarding the location of special units, the committee explored the importance of Troop J to municipal police forces in the area, the need for more troopers and other issues relating to the potential cost-saving measures in our area.
While the recent announcement that special investigative units will remain in Lancaster County is a strong step in the right direction, a great deal of work remains to ensure public safety in our local communities. I will continue to work with local legislators and State Police officials to ensure that our communities receive the police coverage they need. Residents who would like more information on this issue can watch the entire hearing online on my website at www.senatorbrubaker.com.
More Information Available Regarding Voter ID Requirements
Last month, Governor Corbett signed legislation into law that will require voters in future elections to present photo ID at the polls. While the measure was designed to identify and eliminate voter fraud, a number of individuals and advocacy groups have raised concerns regarding the new requirements.
The voter ID bill was amended to address many of the groups that are least likely to have valid government-issued photo identification, such as nursing home residents, college students and military voters. Provisions have also been made to protect the voting rights of absentee voters, homeless voters and individuals whose religion prohibits them from having their picture taken. PennDOT will also issue free photo IDs for individuals who cannot afford one.
The Department of State offers a wealth of information on the new requirements on its website and via a special toll-free hotline. For more information on Pennsylvania's voter ID law, visit www.VotesPA.com or call 1-877-VotesPA (1-877-868-3772).