The Fort Indiantown Gap police department this fall welcomed a new police chief and moved into a new, bigger station on the sprawling military base.
Devan Kramer, 45, was promoted to chief on Sept. 16.
A native of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, she now lives in Linglestown. Kramer earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the McCann School of Business and Technology in 2007, and in 2008 she started work as a ranger for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, stationed at the French Creek complex near Elverson.
In 2009, she completed municipal police officer training through the Pennsylvania State Police. She was hired as an officer at FTIG in 2010 and, in 2019, she was promoted to sergeant.
As chief, she succeeds Chief Jarrad Berkihiser, who served 2 1/2 years in the post before becoming the director of public safety at the base. Kramer is, to the best of her knowledge, the first female police chief in Lebanon County.
The new station is located is building 7-74, on Fisher Avenue just east of Wiley Road. It replaces a pair of World War II-era buildings on Wiley Road that provided about 2,400 square feet for police use.
“We had outgrown that,” Kramer said. “The building needed some updates.”
The new structure is much bigger, some 6,000 square feet, and is all under one roof. Construction began on the station in December 2021, and police moved into the new facility in September of this year.
“It took about a week to move in,” Kramer said. “One day, we switched the radios and our 911 center. We had to do it within a 24-hour period. … Once we turned our radios off, we had to switch quick. We ran off portable radios until they switched on the main console down here. We made it work.”
The new facility is more secure and more accessible, she added, with an entrance vestibule and an enclosed, roofed compound for police vehicles. There is also additional office space, so the department’s four sergeants don’t have to share a desk any more.
The old station had only a single unisex bathroom, Kramer noted. The replacement has separate facilities and nicer locker rooms for the officers, as well as a dispatch area, training areas, a holding cell, an evidence room, work stations and office space.
The alarm monitoring system has been upgraded, she added, and they have upgraded CCTV capabilities with additional monitors.
Besides the chief, the department employs 23 sworn police officers and 11 unsworn security officers.
“We also hired a clerk, she’s new to the station,” Kramer said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a clerk.”
The former police buildings will be renovated, she said, then put to use by the Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy, possibly as a rec center.
The academy, according to the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website, provides “Pennsylvania teens who are struggling in high school a path to achieve the self-discipline, education, and skills necessary to succeed as productive, responsible citizens through an engaging, safe, and structured residential experience.”
With the new station occupied and a new chief at the helm, Kramer said the FTIG police force is not planning any other big changes at the moment.
Besides the new access control point – “That’s a whole new thing we are overseeing. That’s something new,” she said – she doesn’t foresee any other changes to personnel or procedures in the near future.
But, she added, “I can see in the future we may have a need to grow.”
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