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Blog: Former TTPD Chief Andy Chambers ... Controversial Choice for T/E Safety Consultant

Focus needs to be on keeping our children and teachers safe, not the controversy that a consulting contract with former police chief may present.

I attended the 2-hour community meeting this week on school safety.  The current safety procedures and planned enhancements were presented by  Kevin Buraks, TESD president, Tredyffrin Police Supt. Andy Giaimo, Easttown Police Chief David Obzud, the District’s architect Tom Daley, TESD Supt. Dan Waters, TESD Business Manager Art McDonnell and head of TESD Safety Committee (and Vice Principal of Conestoga HS) Andrew Phillips.

There was much discussion from the panel members about the need to ‘harden’ the schools – to make it more difficult for entry into the schools.  Some of the safety changes expected to be in place by the end of January includes a new buzzer system in each of the schools.  After school starts each day, all doors will be locked and visitors to the schools must be ‘buzzed-in’.    Visitors to the schools will now be required to show photo IDs.  Additional security cameras are to be installed at each school.  Glass at the front entrance of each school will be equipped with a 3M safety and security film.  This durable safety film is impact-resistant, making it much more difficult for bullet penetration.

Rather than audience members directly asking questions of the panel, questions were written on index cards.  Many questions had to do with the safety of the children outside of the school buildings – recess on the playground, field trips, etc. in addition to the student’s safety before and after school in the buildings.  Although the questions were wide-ranging, there was no discussion of ‘arming’ the teachers and or administration. 

Personally, the bombshell of the evening came towards the end of the meeting. Superintendent Waters spoke of hiring a safety consultant to review the current security of the District.  Based on Tredyffrin’s recent consulting study to review its police department, which cost the taxpayers $49K, just hearing the word ‘consultant’ sends up a red flag.  But in the case of the school district, the ‘bigger’ red flag was who Waters named as the District’s safety consultant … Tredyffrin’s former police chief Andy Chambers!  Waters stated that he had a personal relationship with Chambers, having worked with him for 25 years and that Chambers knew the school buildings. Doesn’t Dan Waters and the School Board recall the controversy surrounding Chambers and his departure from Tredyffrin’s Police Department?

To refresh everyone’s memory — In December 2011, the former Tredyffrin Township police chief Andy Chambers was suspended for 4 days as a result of allowing his 16-year old son to drive a township police car which was subsequently involved in an accident in November 2011.  Chambers failed to report the vehicle accident to the Board of Supervisors – the information was leaked to the supervisors a month later through an anonymous tip.  Chambers ultimately retired while serving his suspension.  To say that Chambers left Tredyffrin Township Police Department ‘under a dark cloud’ would be quite an understatement!

Given the background of Chamber’s departure from Tredyffrin’s police department, why would the school district want to invite the controversy that comes with his hiring as a safety consultant?  Just because Waters has a personal relationship of 25 years with Chambers should not be ‘reason enough’ for his hiring as a consultant.  The focus needs to be our children and keeping them safe, not the additional drama and controversy that a consulting contract with Chambers may present.

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Pat Campbell January 12, 2013 at 06:15 PM
"The focus needs to be our children and keeping them safe, not the additional drama and controversy that a consulting contract with Chambers may present." So we all would do well to focus on the kids and NOT on the controversy we are creating by making it be about Andy Chambers. Mark A -- I think his arrogance already cost him a job. He is a father and a long time connection to the local schools. Do you think we should hire the same kind of consultant the township hired for their police study? We could get all kinds of information -- and to suggest that our school superintendent is part of an "old boy"network simply ignores reality. Dr. Waters lives in Bucks County and is hardly bringing in a neighbor. He is asking for advice from someone whose advice he has received and respects. WHY are we focusing on the source...let's focus on the topic. School Safety.
Mark A. January 13, 2013 at 12:45 AM
The topic of this post isn't about school safety, it's about school safety being commanded by Andy Chambers. If you are satisfied with all the ideas coming from him and nobody else (because he won't be open to any outside suggestions let alone criticism) then go for it. I'm not, I'd much rather the person in charge be somebody who is open to input from the community or anyone but himself, and Arrogant Andy is not that. He wouldn't have been considered at all except for his chummy-pal. I'd like to see the paperwork from the interview. #ohwaittherewasn'tone
Pat Campbell January 14, 2013 at 03:40 AM
He's a consultant, but I think it is highly unlikely he will take the position. He is not the commander. How did he ever rise to run TTPD if he is so universally disliked?
Stumpy Pepys January 14, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Was there any sort of bidding process or published requests for proposal?
Pattye Benson January 14, 2013 at 04:37 PM
I am not aware of a RFP from TESD to hire a safety consultant. There is a School Board Finance Committee meeting tonight at 7 PM at the Administration Office; perhaps the consultant's contract will be addressed.

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