NEW OXFORD, Pa. (WHTM) -
There was a big shake-up Monday night after weeks of drama for the Eastern Adams Regional Police Department.
The force offers protection for two municipalities; New Oxford Borough and Oxford Township.
Many residents had been angered by the recent firing of one of its police officers, but on Monday it was Chief Robert Then who was let go amid complaints from residents and officers.
Three members of the Eastern Adams Regional Police Commission supported firing Then. They were all from Oxford Township.
The two members from the borough opposed the firing. It came only weeks after officers on the force presented a "no confidence" vote on the chief.
"Change had to occur for the ultimate survival of the department, which is our goal," said commission member Mario Iocco, who voted for the chief's dismissal.
The motion passed 3-2. Former Northern York County Regional Police Chief Carl Segati was hired to run the department. That vote also went 3-2, prompting protests from borough residents.
"Definitely looks like it was a railroad job here tonight to a lot of us...definitely looks like Oxford came in and strong-armed the borough and that's exactly what just happened," said one man who also supported the move to oust the chief. "He's gone, thankfully. I look forward to seeing this department going back to a respectable department."
The union representing the police officers has also petitioned the commission to reinstate Corporal David Ogle, who was fired right after the no confidence vote was submitted.
"It's clearly obvious to see that there is an outpouring of support for Corporal David Ogle," said Teamsters representative Mario Eckert. "I feel as though David Ogle was probably targeted as a result of the vote of no confidence against the chief of police."
The commission said it would not be taking action on Ogle until it has completed an investigation.
"We need to have this resolved so our officers can feel comfortable so we can have police protection," said Mayor Carrie Cserr.
Chief Then was not at the meeting. He was on vacation.
Eckert submitted a petition with 500 signatures on it in support of Corporal Ogle. He also submitted a petition to remove the chief.