Public weighs in on fate of Camp Hill police chief; council schedules special meeting

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM)– There were so many people at Wednesday night’s Camp Hill Borough Council meeting, members of the public were still setting up extra chairs when the council called the meeting to order.

Several people were there to speak about police Chief Doug Hockenberry, who was charged with DUI last month after a crash in Perry County.

“[My son] said, ‘Dad, this is the same individual that came to our school and put on goggles for us to talk about drunk driving,'” one member of the public said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “So it worries me what that message sends. It worries me what the message sends to the rest of the community, what that message sends to our officers.”

Public comment was split between people who expressed concerns about Hockenberry and people who were in favor of giving him another chance in light of his positive work in Camp Hill. One woman spoke about his work with domestic violence victims and advocates in the community.

“There was never a question that he, Doug Hockenberry, would be there to help us,” she said. “So I would suggest and understand people’s concerns, but I also strongly feel that everyone deserves a second chance.”

Council has scheduled a 7 p.m. special meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 19 at borough hall “regarding the issue of the police chief.”

On Nov. 5, state police say Hockenberry crashed into a tree and two mailboxes on Lambs Gap Road in Rye Township. The criminal complaint says Hockenberry’s blood-alcohol content was .178 percent.

The affidavit of probable cause says when state police arrived at the scene, Hockenberry said he “did not know how [they] were notified of the crash, as he did not contact police himself.” He also said he called G.A. Smith Towing to have his truck towed from the scene.

A recent ABC27 investigation shows allegations of favoritism of G.A. Smith by Hockenberry and West Shore Regional police Chief Mike Hope, with complaints from drivers that the relationship is costing them money and taking away their choices. Click here to read Camp Hill Borough’s response to that investigation.

Police say G.A. Smith was not on the scene right away when they got there but arrived shortly after. Police say if Hockenberry’s car had been towed before they arrived, the crash could have been considered a hit-and-run because there was property damage.

After the meeting, Council President Peter Robelen told ABC27 that Hockenberry is still using previously-accumulated paid leave. He also said the borough’s Public Safety Committee will start review towing practices in January.

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