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Mercersburg businesses complain about police enforcement - abc27 WHTM

Franklin County

Mercersburg businesses complain about police enforcement

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MERCERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Several local business people in Mercersburg say times have been tough lately.

Gary Smith, who is the Commander of the Mercersburg VFW, said he's not seeing nearly the amount of customers he used to.

"They won't come in, they won't stay late in the evening, they leave early, " he said. "The business is down, we have had to lay employees off."

Todd Sixes, who runs the local VFW, said he is seeing the same issue at his establishment.

"The customers come in and get their food and they leave because they won't stay, if they don't stay, they don't spend money," he said.

The reason? They say it's not the economy, but the way the borough police department is patrolling at night.

Jeremy Jones, General Manager at Flannery's restaurant, said his customers are reluctant to come into town anymore because they are afraid of being pulled over.

Other businesses are also not happy with the police department, but site a different reason. They say the borough's implementation of Department of Transportation tractor trailer inspections is causing issues with supplies getting to them on time.

However, Chief Zechman of the Mercersburg Police Department said he has heard some of the complaints but is striving to lead a force that is serving the community the best it can. He said that since he took over the department in 2009 he has been working hard to set high, professional standards for the officers. 

Chief Zechman said it is not their policy to simply have officers watch for cars leaving bars. However, since the borough is only one square mile, inevitably during patrol they will likely notice patrons leaving.

"Part of our job is not to turn the other way when we see someone that could potentially be a DUI," he said. 

As for the inspections, it's something Chief Zechman said is a benefit for road safety in an area surrounded by mountainous terrain.

He does encourage those with questions or concerns to bring them up at the borough council meeting scheduled for Feb. 11.

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