The city of Lancaster is located about 75 miles north of Baltimore MD and about 70 miles west of Philadelphia PA in southeastern Pennsylvania. The city is seven square miles and home to about 65,000 racially and ethnically diverse residents. It has a vibrant downtown district with many locally owned businesses, a convention center, theaters, art galleries, and music venues. There is robust community involvement from stakeholders who seek to make Lancaster a safe and welcoming city for all people.
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police consists of 140 sworn officers and about 80 non-sworn support staff. Our department reflects our diverse community and is involved in several community engagement strategies: the Police Athletic League that serves more than 300 children in the city, Coffee with a Cop, Toys for Tots, Shop with a Cop, community and neighborhood meetings, National Night Out, the Citizen’s Police Academy, and the Cadet Program.
Criminal Investigative Division (CID)
The Criminal Investigative Division is responsible for investigating a variety of serious crimes. CID is broken down into three detailed sections: Violent Crime, Property Crime, and Special Victims. Each unit is responsible for the investigation and clearance of certain types of crime.
Detectives within CID embrace teamwork and collaboration to aid victims and solve crimes.
Selective Enforcement Unit (SEU)
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police Selective Enforcement Unit is composed of officers from within the Patrol Division under the direct supervision of a sergeant.
The unit addresses specific violations of the law that may be public nuisances to the city’s residents. This allows for officers assigned to one of the Patrol Division’s four platoons to focus on calls for service, while longer-term problems are handled by the SEU.
Types of crimes that are frequently targeted by the SEU include quality of life violations (i.e., noise, littering, and alcohol violations among others), street-level drug operations, speeding, prostitution, and other sex offense violations.
Patrol officer positions within the SEU unit are temporary assignments; therefore giving the opportunity for a broader level of experience for officers within the Patrol Division.
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police has four K-9 officers who provide visible support to the patrol officers as they perform their duties. The K-9 dogs are an integral component of crime prevention and detection and provide a presence that defuses many potentially dangerous situations. Our K-9 dogs live with their human partners when they are off-duty. Our K-9 officers are heavily involved in community engagement and outreach.
Mounted Horse Patrol
The objective of the Mounted Patrol is to provide the downtown business district and surrounding neighborhoods with a unique, functional, and highly visible presence in deterring crime and making our city a better and safer place in which to live, work and play. The Lancaster Bureau of Police Mounted Patrol currently consists of three full-time and three part-time riders with four horses. While mounted officers perform all of the same duties as all other patrol officers, they have special capabilities in crowd control and traffic enforcement. Much like our K-9 officers, the mounted officers participate in regular community events.
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police has a long history of bicycle patrol going back to the early 1990s. Officers patrol on bicycles in the downtown district and through the neighborhoods. Officers are encouraged to patrol on bicycles year-round although it is not required.
School Resource Officers (SRO)
A collaboration between the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and the School District of Lancaster provides six full-time law enforcement officers in each middle school and high school. These SROs create and maintain a safe educational environment for students, teachers, and staff. SROs use innovative and diversionary-based strategies to intervene and avoid an “arrest first” approach.
Teaching Educating And Mentoring (TEAM)
The T.E.A.M. program allows officers to work inside the School District of Lancaster schools, sharing important lessons on personal, family, and community safety. Topics often include anti-bullying and harassment and are specific to the needs of individual schools. The program allows children to see police officers as normal everyday members of their community.
Police Athletic League (PAL)
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police started its first Police Athletic League (PAL) in 2014. PAL connects cops and kids in a positive environment through sports and physical activities. PAL has proven itself to be an effective method for connecting law enforcement officers and community members in a positive manner. Police officers mentor local youth through programs such as basketball, archery, music, dance, and outdoor recreation. The Lancaster PAL is made possible through the financial support of the Allstate Foundation, The Oxford Area Foundation, Auntie Anne’s C.A.R.E.S., and BB&T Bank.
Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT)
Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) is composed of an elite group of highly trained county law enforcement officers. The mission of SERT is to preserve life when called to critical incidents that greatly threaten public safety. Incidents types may include barricaded and armed individuals, hostage situations, kidnappings, and high-risk warrant services. SERT is committed to a peaceful and safe resolution to critical incidents. The SERT consists of a Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) with several Officers who have trained with the FBI Hostage Negotiation Team and the NYPD Crisis Negotiation Team. CNT Officers are all certified as Crisis Intervention Specialists. The Lancaster City Bureau of Police officers are eligible to join the SERT team.