Op/Ed: Vote for Hoffman in Kennett Twp.

As Southern Chester County continues to grow, public safety concerns in Kennett Township are understandably growing as well. Township crime and traffic violations are still at relatively low levels, but they are increasing.  Fire and emergency services are also concerns.
Until a few years ago, Kennett Township relied almost entirely on the state police for first-response enforcement. But the state police have themselves become increasingly stretched thin over time, and anyway they have no power to enforce local ordinances.  For fire and emergency services, Kennett Township relies on volunteer departments, often with overlapping jurisdictions, which can create confusion and problems for residents.
The best long-term solution is probably some kind of regional authority for police, fire, and emergency services, centered around the major population center Kennett Borough, with whom the township already has some resource-sharing arrangements. However, previous township administrations never seriously pursued any kind of regional planning, so any such solution is still probably years off.
In the meantime, Kennett Township created its own police department. The basic idea was sound, but unfortunately previous administrations provided little oversight or accountability.  Meanwhile the township donated millions of dollars for the equipment of local volunteer fire and emergency companies without carefully assessing whether this truly reflected Kennett Township’s fair share of these costs, or truly met the township needs.  
These problems continued until Scudder Stevens and Richard Leff took control of the board. They acted quickly to bring accountability and new leadership into the police department,  The new police chief, Lydell Nolt, now commands three additional officers focused solely on township safety.
The new supervisors are now also working with our fire and emergency services to make them more effective and responsive, and to reduce overlap and associated taxpayer costs. They have retained consultants to analyze how to make these improvements, and are actively looking for grants to help implement them.
This Nov 3, there is another election for Kennett Township Supervisor. Only one candidate, Whitney Hoffman, fully endorses Stevens' and Leff’s new public safety agenda. She also has ideas of her own on how to encourage more regional cooperation in this area.  Let's keep moving forward. On Nov. 3, please vote for Whitney Hoffman.
Jeff Yetter
Kennett Township 

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