NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> At the Feb. 12 supervisors’ meeting, township police chief John Hearn presented commendations of merit to four officers for their law enforcement efforts responding to separate emergency calls last October.

Officers Julius Ferraro and Thomas Rawa were recognized for their actions in handling and investigating an Oct. 1, 2019 domestic disturbance within the Society Place residential development.

The incident involved a mother and her 18-year-old son who was armed with a large kitchen knife. When the officers arrived, they found the son outside in a parking lot brandishing the weapon.

According to the police chief, Ferraro and Rawa quickly recognized that there were mental health issues involved and peacefully diffused the situation without any injuries.

The son was then transported to a medical facility.

“This was an outstanding example of de-escalation techniques used by police at violent situations,” Chief Hearn noted. “This reinforces our desire and commitment to life preservation and protection of the community.”

The second pair of commendations of merit were awarded to Cpl. Paul Deppi and Officer Brandon Turpyn for an Oct 29, 2019 incident involving the alleged theft of copper and other building supplies from a construction site at Pickering Manor on North Lincoln Avenue.

Both Deppi and Turpyn, with assistance from a Newtown Borough police officer, investigated and secured the scene. According to Chief Hearn, their quick action subsequently resulted in the arrest a Bensalem man who was charged with burglary and related offenses.

The police chief also said that the suspect was allegedly responsible for several other burglaries in the area.

“This is an outstanding example of the ongoing cooperation and partnership we share with our counterparts to protect our communities,” Chief Hearn maintained.

Also at the supervisors’ meeting, the board approved spending $143,870.90 to purchase and outfit three new police cruisers as part of the township’s plan to constantly update the police department’s fleet.

The vehicles will be purchased from the Chapman Auto Group, with Havis, Inc. doing the outfitting for the lights, sirens and electronics.

In addition, the township will buy a new Ford F-550 work truck from Chapman Auto through a municipal purchasing consortium at a cost of $80,969.00.

The vehicle will be used by the township public works department to repair roads and curbs, as well as used for snow plowing.

Both expenditures are contained in the 2020 capital budget, with the purchase price of the truck coming in about $15,000 less that earmarked.

In other action, township engineer Leanna Colubriale discussed what is needed to start construction on the proposed one-mile long Lower Dolington Trail.

There is roughly $625,000 in state grants and township funds now set aside for the trail which will eventually run alongside Lower Dolington Road from Upper Silver Lake Road to Frost Lane near the Newtown Borough border.

The 10-foot-wide, multi-use trial is aimed at improving the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Of the state grants, which were announced in November, $250,000 is from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

That funding will help provide funding for: intersection improvements, ADA access, landscaping, signage, fencing, storm water management and other site upgrades.

Another $125,000 grant came from the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) as part of the Multi-Modal Transportation Fund which assists municipalities in developing multi-use trails.

The purpose of the DCED grant is to help local businesses succeed, including those focused on development, water quality and energy infrastructure.

According to Colubriale, there currently is enough money to build the trail from Frost Lane, along Lower Dolington Road, up to the PECO power lines near which is roughly halfway to Upper Silver Lake Road.

She said that he next step is to develop a construction strategy and design, as well as getting the needed permits before any bids are sent out for the actual construction.

The supervisors also approved applying to the Audubon Society for a $1,000 grant to install certain plantings and improvements at the township’s Helen Randle Park on Swamp Road in order to make it a more desirable habitat for birds and other wildlife.

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