Ketner to retire from borough police force

Longtime Hollidaysburg Police Chief Jeffrey Ketner will announce his retirement at today’s Borough Council meeting, according to a statement released Monday.

The statement, released jointly by Ketner’s attorney, Stephen Wicks, and the borough’s labor counsel, David Andrews, said that the two sides reached an agreement and that the terms of Ketner’s retirement will be revealed at this evening’s meeting.

Ketner and the borough had a difference of opinion on how to run the Hollidaysburg police force, according to the statement.

“The parties have differences about the operation of the Police Department that we believe are best resolved by parting company,” the statement reads.

Council will meet today at 5 p.m. to discuss the terms of Ketner’s retirement. The meeting will be held in the borough building’s council chambers. Members of the public are invited, and encouraged, to attend the meeting.

The council chambers seats about 30 people, but Borough Manager Mark Schroyer said Friday that, though moving the meeting had been discussed, it will still be held at the borough building, 401 Blair St.

Ketner was placed on paid leave July 10 apparently after an executive session following the Borough Council’s regular monthly meeting. Under state law, government bodies are not permitted to take official action in executive session.

All votes must be held during a public meeting.

There are no minutes indicating such a meeting was held.

The reasons for Ketner’s leave were not revealed, though Andrews said July 12 that Ketner was earning full pay and benefits during his leave.

Details on the situation have been hard to come by, and borough officials have been tight-lipped. Repeated calls to administrators and council members have not been returned.

Ketner has also been unavailable for comment since his leave began almost two weeks ago. He was on vacation last week.

According to Monday’s statement, Ketner may “pursue other opportunites” after his retirement. Ketner has been with the Hollidaysburg Police Department for the better part of three decades, but he does work with other regional departments as well.

While Ketner’s “other opportunities” weren’t specified in the news release, he remains a part-time officer in charge for North Woodbury Township, solicitor W. Lee Oswalt III said Monday.

Ketner’s service has been lauded in the township, where he has served as an officer for roughly 17 years, Oswalt said. While North Woodbury’s small police department is part-time and doesn’t officially employ a chief, Ketner leads the force as its longest-serving and most experienced member.

“Part-time officers come and go. … He’s been the mainstay,” Oswalt said.

Speaking on behalf of the North Woodbury Township supervisors, Oswalt said Ketner’s service in the Morrisons Cove community has been “highly regarded.”

The still-mysterious decision in Hollidaysburg to place Ketner on paid leave – and now the news of his impending retirement – hasn’t impacted his employment in North Woodbury.

“We have no idea what he’s been accused of. Until and unless it’s been demonstrated that he’s done something wrong, we will take no action,” Oswalt said.

Assistant Chief David Gehret has been overseeing the Hollidaysburg police force in Ketner’s absence.

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535. Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown contributed to this report.