Department History

The Butler Township Police Department was started on October 14, 1969, by an ordinance under the direction of township Supervisors Bob Shelhamer, Earl Christman and John Klinger. Andrew Pecile was appointed the chief of police and was the only full-time officer.

On July 11, 1972, six special police officers were appointed to the department; they were to serve two hours a week at $1.75 per hour. On December 29, 1972, two additional special officers were appointed.

The first police cruiser was a used 1968 Plymouth, a former Pennsylvania State Police cruiser. It was painted all black and the lettering consisted of decals purchased from the hardware store. It was equipped with a single beacon on the roof and a citizens band radio.

In 1974, the township sent James Crawford to the Pennsylvania State Police Municipal Police Officers’ basic academy. 

Today, the Butler Township Police Department consists of eight full-time police officers and one civilian clerk. 

Since 2007, the department is also an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) livescan processing site. Other local police departments also use the AFIS system though a cost-sharing agreement. Sugarloaf Township; West Hazleton Borough; Pennsylvania State University Campus Police, Hazleton Campus; Conyngham Borough; Freeland Borough and White Haven Borough police departments use the system to process their arrestees. 

The system quickly compares the person’s fingerprints, identifies the person and gives his or her criminal history. The photograph portion of the system uploads an arrest mugshot that is available to other users in the state. It uses photo recognition to compare features to unknown suspects. 

Each of the department’s patrol vehicles is equipped with a mobile data terminal, which permits the officer to receive calls from the Luzerne County 911 Center and gives officers access to driver, vehicle and criminal history information. An integrated map in the software identifies addresses and locations with known threats. The patrol vehicles are also equipped with a nighttime optical thermal imaging camera.

The department recognizes the nationwide trend of school and workplace violence. For more than 10 years, the department has acquired immediately accessible tactical equipment in order to respond to these situations.

The Butler Township Police Department is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all residents and visitors.