New Lycoming County DA pushing for changes

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The new year means new changes in government.

The new Lycoming County District Attorney is pushing for changes in his office. Eyewitness News reporter Morgan Parrish has more on what county positions he would like to get rid of and others he would like to add.

New Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner has a plan. The elimination of three positions in his office and adding two new jobs. His plan calls for getting rid of the assistant district attorney position as well as a full-time and part-time clerk jobs. Then he wants to hire two part-time county detectives.

“I support it 100 percent,” Dustin Wentzler of Williamsport said.

“Yeah, when Ryan brought the proposal in front of the commissioners, obviously we’re trying to reduce the size of government and make it more efficient,” Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare, (R), said.

If put in place, the two new part-time county detectives will investigate major crimes and active homicide cases. Experienced or retired officers would be hired for the positions and will work on a homicide task force.

“Eventually it will have a major effect on violent crime in the city and we support Ryan Gardner’s efforts in that manner,” Williamsport Police Chief Damon Hagan said.

In Williamsport, there are six detectives on the force with one scheduled to retire soon. Hagan tells Eyewitness News adding two more county detectives would be a great addition to the region, especially with three unsolved shootings from last year.

“The DA’s office eventually has to prosecute these cases so whether they’re detectives or actively involved in the investigation or the preparation for trial, they’re always involved eventually with getting ready to go to trial,” Hagan said.

Gardner says the changes will save the county $25,000 a year.

“As then as that’s being reduced, put more boots on the ground to help our local law enforcement. We think it’s a fabulous idea,” Mussare said.

“Unfortunately in our world, there are people that get away with for loss of a better word, murder, that aren’t accountable for their actions that operate beyond accountability or consequence,” Wentzler said.

The Lycoming County Commissioners will vote on this proposal during their public meeting Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

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