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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Nov 12

The Dog Blog: How Canines Help Police and Veterans

Posted to Chief's Corner by Andrea Iglar

As most of you know, in December 2017 we added a new officer to our South Fayette family: Ellie Faye, the bloodhound of the South Fayette Township Police Department.

The dog has been very active so far, having been certified through the National Houndsmen Association and having endured the rigorous training regimen required to become nationally licensed. Over the past year, Ellie and her handler, Sgt. Mike Wesolek, have been called upon for assistance 14 times to help find runaway juveniles, people with special needs, lost persons and wanted suspects. The big, floppy bloodhound also has enjoyed meeting—and happily slobbering upon—many children and adults at community events.

Within the police department, Ellie has often lifted our spirits as well as those of residents and visitors. Dogs in general have been known to have a tremendous positive effect on people; as the adage goes, they are “man’s best friend.” That’s why dogs around the country have been well suited to assist veterans and police officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury—effectively saving the lives of both the veteran and dog.

Pennsylvania in particular has a large per capita population of post-9/11 veterans, and several K-9 programs have assisted veterans and law enforcement officers with the effects of PTSD. The Florida-based charitable organization “K-9s for Warriors,” accredited by the Better Business Bureau, trains service dogs to perform tasks that help quiet the traumatic disabilities faced by some veterans and law enforcement officers. These dogs learn to help with anxiety, depression, isolation and nightmares.

Statistics from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, Harvard University, Purdue University and Indiana University show that on average, veterans consume up to 14 medications a day to treat PTSD or traumatic brain injury, and police officers are at the top of the list for suicides and alcoholism. This makes me stop and think, “Are we doing enough to assist with these disabilities?”

As a police chief who has the upmost respect and gratitude for the men and women who have served our country in the military, I believe the “K-9s for Warriors” program has greatly assisted with these challenges. The program recently conducted a study with 141 participants, half with a service dog and half without. The study found that depression, PTSD symptoms and anxiety levels were significantly lower among the half who were provided with service dogs.

I am pleased that in our community, Ellie can provide comfort to our officers and joy to our community members.

John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police
South Fayette Township
Jul 02

Township seeks connections with homeowner associations

Posted to Manager's Message by Andrea Iglar

Thousands of South Fayette residents belong to a homeowner association, or HOA, so it is easy to see the value in strengthening the township’s working relationship with HOA boards and their members.

While HOAs differ slightly in their organization and standards, they all exist for one very simple reason: to preserve and protect the value of property.

By providing maintenance to common areas and stormwater facilities, HOAs set examples for their members to follow. They also can play a vital role in resolving neighborhood property disputes. When properly functioning, an HOA can be a great ally to the township and an asset to the community as a whole.

In many ways, the mission of South Fayette Township and the mission of an effective HOA are aligned. Just as an HOA exists to preserve and protect the value of property, the township exists to preserve and protect public investments, interests and infrastructure.

The township strives to provide all residents with efficient services such as providing a safe and reliable road network, maintaining a well-trained and organized police force, offering park amenities and recreational programs, and enforcing local codes and ordinances. We also strive to create a sense of community by coordinating public events and providing forums for open communication and discussion.

South Fayette Township would like to form strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships with all HOAs. With this aim in mind, we have created an HOA webpage where homeowner associations can check in through the HOA Roll Call to share their needs and concerns. Our staff is available to attend an HOA board meeting or answer questions about your specific neighborhood.

I would like to emphasize that the township provides the same services to all residents regardless of whether they belong to an HOA. If you need assistance with any township service, please contact the township office at 412-221-8700, visit the township website or follow us on social media.

I look forward to connecting with our residents!

John M. Barrett
South Fayette Township Manager