Pattye Benson

Community Matters

The story behind Tredyffrin Township blue & white appreciation signs for police

Most of the political campaign signs have now disappeared from lawns and public areas. However, in their place, you may have noticed the blue and white lawns sign which have appeared throughout the township with the words, “Thank You Tredyffrin Police … We Honor You”.

Tredyffrin Township police signs

Without a ‘sponsored by’ indication on the appreciation signs, it was unclear what organization or individual(s) was behind the signs. With a little investigation, I tracked down the background story and can report that the public display of support for our local police department began with the efforts of township resident Rich Sherwin and his wife Donna of Malvern.

I spoke with Rich Sherwin and he explained that the project started over his concern for the negative portrayal of police officers in the country. As a result, Sherwin wanted to show his appreciation for the local Tredyffrin Township Police Department. During a meeting with several Tredyffrin police officers, Sherwin thanked the officers for their service and asked if there was anything the department needed.

Citing township budget cuts and the elimination of two officers, Sherwin was told that the police department was somewhat shorthanded. Sherwin noted that the officers were not complaining and were supportive of the supervisor’s efforts in keeping the tax base low.

Sherwin learned of the following department needs from the Tredyffrin police officers:

  • Drug sniffing dog (cost $10,000) – the police cited the increasing drug situation in the township
  • Motorcycle (cost $25,000) – to help with monitoring the new township trails
  • Video cams (cost $300/ea., 40 officers = total $12,000)

Following the meeting with the township police, Sherwin sent a letter to neighbors and friends, explaining the details (above) and the designation of November 14 – 23 as Tredyffrin Police Appreciation Week.

With the help of State Rep. Warren Kampf, a committee was formed and the Sherwin’s kicked off the program with a $1,000 donation. In hopes of funding a drug sniffing dog as the committee’s first donation to the police, Sherwin’s appeal letter to residents suggested a donation of homeowners of $100 – $1,000 with checks to be made to ‘Tredyffrin Township Police Activity Fund’. According to Sherwin, the fundraising efforts have raised over $11,000 to date and all checks have been turned over the Tredyffrin Township Police Department.

Beyond making a financial contribution or displaying the blue and white support police signs, there are other ways to show your support. The ‘True Blue Community Tree Lighting’ ceremony tree lighting ceremony is set for Saturday, November 14 at Malvern Federal Bank in Paoli to kick off the police appreciation week – all residents are invited to attend. See poster below for other ways to participate:

Tredyffrin Township Appreciation Week

I attended the True Blue Community tree lighting tonight. Well attended by residents and police, State Rep Warren Kampf led the brief ceremony with a moment of silence for the Paris victims and their families. As the US and the world morns together over this latest senseless act of terrorism, there was something very moving to see the blue lights and the American flag tonight.

Thank you to the Tredyffrin Township police officers and first responders the world over … tonight our thoughts are with the victims and their families in Paris.

Police tree lighting

Police tree lighting Giaimo

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  1. We had K9s many years ago. Linda Peterson & I purchased bullet proof vests for them. Shortly thereafter, the BoS decided they were an expense not needed. I’d hate to see them same thing happen again.

    1. It shouldn’t be a problem — according to Rich Sherwin, a local vet has offered to donate his services for the dog and a pet store (I think he told me Concord Pets) will provide a donation of food for the life of the dog as well as any leases, cages, etc. that may be needed.

  2. A drug sniffing dog solely for Tredyffrin township? Seriously? I would like to see the justification for that expense.
    A $25K motorcycle? That would be a full dress Harley which is a ridiculous purchase for moto support in Tredyffrin. A BMW RT or smaller GS would be a much more intelligent choice for the township.

  3. I received a letter from this organization in my mailbox. While I don’t doubt the sincerity of their efforts, I find the assertion that the Township Police are “supportive of the supervisor’s efforts in keeping the tax base low” to be highly dubious. I find it very difficult to believe that a member of the police department let alone the police chief would provide any opinion on township tax policy especially in light of their stated belief that they do not have enough resources to serve/protect the township.

    In my opinion this is an organization that clearly does not want taxes to be raised, but also wants to privately support the local police department in their efforts to protect and serve the community. I have no issue with this approach, and in fact believe it to be genuine effort to support local law enforcement. The only issue I have is with them using the alleged statements by the police chief in support of their obvious desire to keep taxes in the township low.

  4. It’s great that these folks have spearheaded a grass-roots effort to support the local police. I have one suggestion regarding monitoring the trails: How about bicycles? Police on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania use bicycles to patrol the extensive campus grounds.

    I don’t really see how a motorcycle would work to monitor a trail – and it’s expensive, noisy, and smelly.

  5. It’s not a negative “portrayal” of police nationwide. Rather, it’s simply reporting the news. While there are many honorable police officers, there are also many bad actors. We’ve had them here in Tredyffrin Township and they’ve been complained about on this blog.

    I for one don’t like the signs because I don’t see them as necessary. And like the other commentator, I’m also dubious of the TTPD’s support for the supervisor’s goal of low taxes. I’m also dubious of the supervisor’s efforts for that as a 3% tax increase was suggested the meeting after election day. How many times as that happened?

    The TTPD has a difficult task of needing to have political influence without the direct appearance of being political. Make no mistake about it that the police (as individuals) are politically active. There are members of various township GOP committees on the force today. They are politically active, period. The TTPA, formed a few years ago is an example of political activity.

    It’s nice to think that all of the interactions with local police are positive. They aren’t and the fact is, even some of our own have over-stepped their purview.

    If you have a positive relationship with an officer, thank him or her. Apart from that, we pay their salary and they are paid well. I expect them to conduct themselves professionally and within the law at all times. I don’t expect them to conveniently not show up for a hearing because a supervisors girlfriend who is on a township board got in trouble.

  6. As Valley Forge Mountain Res. says:

    “I don’t expect them to conveniently not show up for a hearing because a supervisors girlfriend who is on a township board got in trouble.”

    But they charge 11 years with a crime.


  7. I disagree with you VFmtn:

    This GOP Board of supervisors for the most part is anti police force in Tredyffrin. Perhaps some of our uniformed are part of GOP parties, our own snub them and cut them in numbers.

    Is it true the board of supervisors will deduct this from the police departments 2016 budget? It seems to be the typical style of the BOS and lack of support for the people we need to keep us safe.

    If you recall the lavish study we had a few years ago about the number of actual police we need to keep us safe. Paid by our own tax money and ignored by the board of supervisors. While they took the liberty of hiring new police some police are injured or retiring. So in reality are we better off? Or is it just PR fluff that they hired enough new officers?

    Not sure why the budget cuts have to be with our police department with recent car break ins, robberies at local spots such as Kmart and CVS. Not to mention the broad span of the township VF mountain to say the panhandle is a good chunk of time if there is an emergency.
    Why not appreciate people who put themselves at risk every day for our safety.

  8. I have received the following additional information regarding the staffing and budget of Tredyffrin police department:

    (1) With regards to the township funding, the budget for the police was $7.7 million in 2012 and is $9.1 million for 2016.
    (2) The township approved 42 police officers and all 42 positions are filled.
    (3) In 2014, a Harley Davidson motorcycle was purchased for the police department. In addition, the police have 2 motorized bicycles. These 3 vehicles can be used on the township trails.

    In his letter to residents and in our phone conversation, Mr. Sherwin offered a differing account, such as decrease in police officers and department budget cuts. Hope that this information helps clarify.

    If you have further questions regarding the township budget, there is an upcoming Budget Open House on Thursday, Nov. 19, 10 AM – 12 Noon at the township building. All residents welcome to attend.

    1. All 42 police positions are currently filled, reconfirmed by Police Supt Tony Giaimo at tonight’s tree lighting. I was told that if an officer retires or leaves the department, their position is immediately full – perhaps the advertisement is for a position that is to become available.

  9. Not a shock that Mr. Sherwin’s “facts” were inaccurate.To say or suggest the board is not police friendly is nonsense. Just because you make an entity operate within a budget, it doesn’t mean you are hostile toward that entity’s efforts. I do agree that police “study” from a few years ago was nonsense.

    Here’s the bottom line on the TTPD.

    – If it is a serious or complex crime, the likelihood the department will close the case is less then probable. Example – the TTPD has a 0% closure rate on murder.

    – For the most part, the TTPD is a traffic enforcement department. That’s about the only time you see them in action.

    – On traffic stops, check the race of the driver some time. I know nobody really wants to admit it. The TTPD racially profiles, and it’s not just limited to traffic stops. This profiling is not just limited to the police. Citizens do it too.

    – The TTPD can be very selective about what it chooses to follow up on. Often, the TTPD crosses the line to out and out harassment.

    – I’m still troubled by the decision to appoint Giamo as superintendent after the fiasco with Chambers and Harkness. The two cops not showing up for that hearing were under Giamo’s command. It’s the same old news. We really needed to go outside to rid ourselves of what is a culture of corruption in the department.

    In my opinion, this sign campaign is something that is actually orchestrated by TTPD members. They’re simply using somebody as a front.

    If you really want to thank a group, thank the fire fire fighters. They are volunteers. And last I checked, nobody in the various departments were accused of violating an individual’s civil rights.

  10. Wow! Now I finally know what the signs are for! I also didn’t know what was going on on Saturday nite, 11/14/15 when I just happened to pass by Malvern Federal just as the blue lights were being turned on. There was no publicity anywhere beforehand – just the signs. I am a registered voter (who actually votes), a taxpayer and a very faithful reader of the local paper and I guess someone just forgot to send me, John Q Public, the memo! Shame on the Tredyffrin clique! I live and work here, too! It is OUR community, NOT just THEIRS! Also, I wholeheartedly agree with VFMountainRes that it is the fire fighters who SHOULD be thanked!

  11. Are all 42 officers working? Some could be injured or out with an injury or ready to retire. Does that mean the new officer is ready to go?

    An open house during the day? Does the township realize most citizens may hold down a job?

    In nearly a twenty mile span of a township, 42 officers seem sparse? After all many years ago we had 50 plus officers and yet many residents demand the same service and expectations of having 5o (+) officers on duty.

    At most that means four or five officers are on duty at a given time is this correct?

    Has anyone asked just how many calls the department gets and must respond to every year?

    If the township feels the police force is so corrupt perhaps that should have been addressed years ago when the board used our tax money to tell us we were under staffed for police and they were renegotiation the contract.

    Our first responder(s) paid or unpaid are here to protect us. They put themselves in danger with every traffic stop or every time they come because your alarm went off due to movement.
    Read the news there are people robbing Acme, CVS, Gateway and selling herion next to New Eagle Elementary School.

    In the wake of tragic events in the US and all over the world.
    Let’s hope the BOS uses our tax increases to keep us all well protected and our schools drug free. It’s the least they could do.

  12. It is upsetting to read some of these comments. In any profession there will be a few people who should not represent the group…
    I agree that the firefighters and paramedics deserve recognition and support, but TTPD do as well.
    I have personally experienced an emergency situation involving TTPD and Berwyn paramedics, all who were amazing. I’d rather not give personal details, but you might be surprised how much above and beyond the requirements of their duties the ones involved were willing to go. Without any hesitation or expectation of gratitude. When gratitude was expressed, it was humbly received.
    I would feel proud to display one of those signs. And why not add signs for the firefighters and EMTs? These are all people who choose, whether as a volunteer or a profession, to keep us safe. You don’t always hear about the lives they save. It happens more often than you might think.

  13. I have to admit that I’m shocked at the idea of either party in Tredyffrin being anti-police. In not quite 70 years, I’ve never seen another community as consistent in its support for the police as this one (I am the son of a policeman in California and have paid attention to this issue since I was in high school.) Having said that, it does appear that the video cams is a much higher priority than either a dog or motorcycle. I’ve always presumed that the reason that PA doesn’t have motorcycle-riding highway patrol officers has to do with the winters, and presume that this would have an impact here as well. There isn’t enough work at the high school to keep a dog busy. But video cams are rapidly becoming standard fare everywhere and will eventually been seen to protect officers as much as their weapons. That’s an investment in every officer’s safety and future.

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