Penbrook Police Department in debt after January homicide investigation

PENBROOK, Pa. (WHTM) – A homicide investigation has left a Dauphin County police department in debt.

Penbrook is a small community in Dauphin County with a big problem.

“There are still many hundreds of hours of investigative work to do,” Penbrook police Chief David Hiester said.

The Penbrook Police Department needs to fill a $10,000 to $15,000 gap. The chief says the final cost could be even more with many months of investigation and resources to come.

Police are investigating the Jan. 19 homicide of a 16-year-old boy. Hiester says the victim broke into a home along Walnut Street. Penbrook’s last gun-related homicide happened in 2007.

“You can’t predict when they’ll occur, so we do try to put a little bit of money aside to have some to soften the impact when they occur,” Hiester said.

Penbrook police could only put $1,000 aside this year. The investigation is costing them in overtime, more hours for part-time officers, and other needs.

Taxes could possibly go up in 2018, but the department is looking into making cuts first.

“It means something else,” Hiester said. “Some other piece of equipment, or some other activity, or some other upgrade or improvement maybe won’t get done because of the cost of these kinds of investigations.”

“I’ve put in between 20 and 16 hours a week since the homicide,” police Lt. Steve Mowery said.

Mowery is one of the people burning the midnight oil on this case.

“You only get one chance in a major crime to get it right, so you have to put in the time,” Mowery said.

“People probably don’t have a full-fledged appreciation of the challenges of it,” Hiester said.

Hiester says many other small police departments in Dauphin County are having the same challenges. He thinks the county should get a major crimes unit to help out departments like his.

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