Former Berwick Police Officer in Trouble with the Law

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BERWICK -- The police force in Berwick is now down to only 12 full-time officers. The police chief said a second officer has resigned after getting in trouble with the law.

Late last week, former Officer Jimmie Hill was accused of providing alcohol to a 19-year-old woman. The alleged incident happened more than a year ago.  After she filed charges, Hill resigned.

"He had offered it himself.  He had contacted me on Sunday and wanted to resign from the force," said Chief Kenneth Strish.

Hill's resignation comes about one month after former Berwick Police Officer Christian Wilson was charged with stealing hundreds of bags of heroin from the department. Strish says the remaining officers now face a tough workload.

"We`re stretched to our limits as to be able to provide any kind of specialty roles that we have grown accustomed to utilizing like our special operations group," said Chief Strish.

After leading the department in Berwick for only four months, Chief Strish says he now hopes to shift the focus back onto the issues in the community and regain any lost trust.

Joseph Church works at Steve's Restaurant, which has been a target of a recent vandalism spree.  He feels some people in the community have changed their opinion about the police department.

"I`m thinking they`re losing trust.  I mean, you had the incident that happened a couple of weeks ago, and now this comes about," said Church.

Many longtime residents of Berwick say they're proud of those who protect their community, and haven't lost any trust at all.

"Every police department, I think, throughout this country, there`s always a bad apple or two in every barrel, and that can`t be avoided.  The people are hired in good faith," said Kathleen Steiner of Berwick.

"I personally think we have very fine police officers. I think that they can make mistakes, they`re only human like everyone else," said Donna Gaito of Berwick.

Chief Strish says the Berwick Police Department is in the process of hiring at least two new officers and hopes to return to full staff soon.