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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
May 14, 2010

Adams County Commissioners

County of Adams

111-117 Baltimore St

Gettysburg, PA 17325

Dear County Commissioners:

I am writing to ask that a matter be rectified or at least justified. We, the Adams County Chapter; PA Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, have been made aware that the PGC and PFBC officers have, for the past 2-1/2 years, needed to surrender their weapons as they enter the Adams County Courthouse.

The weapons are given back when they leave the courthouse but the inconvenience of the paper work and the time involved is discourteous to their profession and is unwarranted. Most of the time it is a short visit to the Treasurer's office, to the mapping department but at other times their journeys may be for trial.

In any case they are listed as law enforcement officers under the PA Crimes Code. The PA Fish & Boat Commission wardens are Act 120 certified and PA Game Commission wardens are under a much higher scrutiny with additional night, dim lighting and winter maneuvers and such. Act 120 is the same training that is required of Deputy Sheriffs and municipal officers and they do not surrender their weapons upon entering the courthouse. Some such as Dave Keller (PFBC) are also a Certified Firearms Instructor through the NRA, which is the certification that most law enforcement agencies recognize for training and he participates in training the deputy sheriffs.

1) The Adams County courthouse security committee, consisting of 3 county commissioners, 3 county judges, and the district attorney, created a county ordinance, which specifically prohibited Game Commission officers from carrying firearms into the county courthouse. The ordinance allowed any other bona-fide police officers, whom regularly and continuously performs duties in Adams County, to continue carrying in the courthouse. The ordinance, in effect, lumped these game and fish officers into the category that included: those with no police training or authority, such as prison guards and probation/parole officers, who are also not allowed to carry in the building anymore.

2) After the PGC complained, the ordinance was amended to not include mentioning Game Commission officers. However, the Commissioners stated that the PGC and PFBC Officers still were not allowed to carry while in the building, even though the ordinance technically no longer restricted this. The claim was essentially that these officers are not police officers and that the courthouse staff is not familiar with them, ignoring the facts of the situation and all relevant Pennsylvania laws and rules of criminal procedures. If the length of service to Adams County is any inclination to the familiarity of Derrin David, David Grove and David Keller, they have over 40 years invested in our county. They have been here and are not going anywhere. Also there is no opportunity for security to be familiar with all of the local police officers so why not exclude all local enforcement entities which we of course, do not support.

3) PFBC & PGC Officers train for almost one year before becoming officers. The PA Game Commission carries at least the equivalent level of training as Act 120 certified. No other training academy in PA or the nation, including FBI, etc., is as comprehensive. Other training also includes constitutional law and police tactics. Prosecution rate for PGC officers is 97%.

4) Aside from the above, PGC Officers has received a great deal of advanced/specialized training in areas such as patrol interdiction, responding to active shooters, gang/narcotic identification and awareness, shooting incident investigation, mobile field force, field sobriety testing certification, and interviewing/interrogation.

We believe there is not really that much inconvenience or paperwork, which in truth is practically non-existent. It is, however, all about the bigger picture of the commonwealths officers' credibility, which can deteriorate into reduced ability to perform their mission, as well as reduction in personal safety. Being required to give up their service weapon can limit their ability to be taken seriously and to be taken in regards of the office to which they hold. They should command respect and lawbreakers should see that these officers are taken seriously. When the officers and suspects meet up again in the field, in a much more confrontational atmosphere, there should be no confusion to the respect that these law enforcement officers should have.

We, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts, do regularly associate with these officers and can attest their professionalism and their abilities in doing their jobs. Any familiarity that security needs, which has been said to be the stumbling block, can be addressed in house.

We welcome your response so that we may address your reply with our membership.
 

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Re: Adams Co. Courthouse "Rules"

Cant wait to hear their response if you get one.
 
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