Department History

The Silver Spring Township Police Department (SSPD) proudly serves by providing 24 hour protection to the 12,400 citizens of Silver Spring Township in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. To accomplish this task, the department's officer's patrol an area nearly 34 square miles in size containing 78 miles of township roads and 40 miles of State roads.

Police Department Origins

The origins of the SSPD can be traced to the late 1960s. At this time much of the Township differed from what is seen today; the vast majority of the Township was rural and all law enforcement coverage was provided by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). The Carlisle Pike did not have a single traffic light, Interstate 81 did not yet run through the township and the Conodoguinet Parkway had yet to be built. Subsequently, the Carlisle Pike saw very heavy commercial truck use as it was the only north / south thoroughfare available.

This (combined with the lack of traffic signals) led to a great number of automobile accidents each year. Also during this time, Silver Spring Township had a large number of bars and taverns. These local watering holes were frequently the site of drunken brawls and fights. Over time, the auto accidents and bar fights began to overwhelm the resources of the PSP troopers who had to patrol not only Silver Spring Township, but the rest of Cumberland County as well.

First Chief of Police

In 1968, the Township Board of Supervisors authorized the formation of a part-time police force. This early version of the current, modern department consisted of several part-time officers and a single police car. This part-time force was short lived however. The lack of a chief's position left a void in leadership and in 1969 the decision was made to create a full-time SSPD. Bill Spaulding was hired as SSPD's first Chief of Police. Assisting him was a Sergeant and a Patrolman, all full-time officers.

Chief Change

In 1972, Silver Spring Township hired John H. Toomey as a Sergeant who, as officer-in-charge, fulfilled all the duties of a Chief of Police. This formal title was eventually given to Toomey in 1974. Chief Toomey would ultimately provide leadership to the Silver Spring Township Police Department for 25 years, retiring at the age of 72 in 1997.

Growth & Department Expansion

Silver Spring Township continued to grow in the 1990s and early 2000s and the Police Department grew right along with it. From humble beginnings as a part-time-only Department with a single vehicle, the Department had expanded to 24 full-time, sworn police officers, 2 administrative assistants, and a 13 vehicle fleet.

In addition, the Department boasts two K-9 teams, a multi-officer bicycle unit, a MCSAP (Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program) officer, a full-time School Resource Officer assigned to Cumberland Valley High School, as well as officers assigned to the Cumberland County Special Response Team (SRT), and the Cumberland County Accident Investigation Team, and the Cumberland County Drug Task Force. The men and women of the Department are also offered a full range of classes and advanced training in law enforcement related subjects so as to better serve the public and increase officer safety.

Future Aspirations

As we enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century, the SSPD looks forward to continuing it's tradition as a progressive law enforcement agency whose members take pride in serving the many citizens and visitors of Silver Spring Township. A positive beginning has been the acquisition of Accreditation through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission from the PA Chiefs of Police.