STOYSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - After learning its police department hasn't been recognized since at least 1997, the borough must decide whether to create a new department or search elsewhere for protection.
The Hershey Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission informed Stoystown borough last week that it had no record of certification over the past five years.
The agency sets training requirements for police statewide.
Questions about the police department surfaced earlier this year and officials in the Somerset County borough tried to find out if the necessary paperwork was misfiled.
"We got notification that we didn't have a police department," said council president Patricia Dinsmore. "We don't have any proof to say otherwise. We have to start all over again."
Neither of the two men who had been performing police duties had offered to provide paperwork to Hershey to indicate the department was established.
Calvin Maluchnick resigned as an officer effective Jan. 1. He had been with the department since 1977.
Ralph Blanset, who had been the chief, hasn't resigned, but Dinsmore said that without a department, his position doesn't exist.
Dinsmore said the borough's contracts with the Maluchnick and Blanset are void.
"You can't have a contract written in 2001 if your police force ended in 1997," she said.
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Council will consider creating a new department, having another borough provide protection or relying on state police protection. For now, the borough will rely on state police as its primary emergency responder.