February 19, 2014 // 10:38 AM

Garden Spot Village Assists the New Holland Police Department

Written by Scott Miller

Volunteerism on Patrol

New Holland’s police chief is enjoying his time in eastern Lancaster County – and Garden Spot Village is helping make his job easier.

“I have almost 1000 people in the community we serve who cause me no problems,” says Chief Don Bowers. “Garden Spot Village is generally supportive of everything we do.”

Staffing the Station

Soon after he came to New Holland last year, Bowers wanted to find volunteers to help with administrative duties at the station. The first place he thought of was Garden Spot Village. “I thought, ‘There’s a wealth of talent right there,’” he says.

Barbara Kovacs, volunteer coordinator, put the word out and soon had candidates who could help with clerical tasks and fill in when the regular administrative assistant wasn’t available. Budget restraints prevent Bowers from hiring part-time staff, so he relies on the volunteers.

“It’s important for me to have a face at the door when somebody walks in,” Bowers says. The volunteers make that possible.

“I find it interesting,” says Linda Boyd, a long-time Garden Spot Village resident who has volunteered at the police department for quite some time. A former bookkeeper, Boyd answers the phone and helps with filings and recordkeeping. “It gives them a break to do other things.”

When Boyd is not helping at the police department, she volunteers in the Garden Spot Village pool, delivers mail twice a week and works at the welcome desk for a couple hours every week. In the summers, she packs lunches at the New Holland Recreation Center.

From Racing Cars to Police Cruisers

Joan Plitt, who has volunteered at the New Holland police department since the program started, says, “This seemed like a good outreach to the community and something that was needed. What more worthy thing to do?”

Plitt had a career as an executive secretary for such companies as Holman Moody, the race-car company; Kennecott Cooper and Environmental Resources Management before she started offering administrative services on a contract basis.

“I like to keep my hand in computer work,” says Plitt, who enters records in a database and worked on updating the department’s police manual. “Sometimes I go over at lunch and answer the phone and do data input.”

Both Boyd and Plitt enjoy their time at the station.

“Everybody I work with is very nice,” Boyd says. “The chief always makes me feel very welcome.”

“They have super guys there. Chief Bowers runs a nice department,” says Plitt.

Expanding the Volunteer Beat

For his part, Bowers can’t say enough about the volunteers from Garden Spot Village.

“They’re just great people. They bring a wealth of experience to the table. Just listening to them, you learn,” he says. “There are people at Garden Spot Village who could teach me things about how to do my job.”

Going forward, Bowers hopes to expand the types of duties that he can assign to the volunteers in order to keep the program interesting. After all, a day in the New Holland Police Department isn’t nearly as exciting as an hour of Law & Order or Blue Bloods.

“Thankfully, there hasn’t been any excitement on my watch,” Plitt happily reports.

Learn more at NewHollandPD.org.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of the Destinations Magazine.

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