The two newest officers of the Elizabethtown Police Department were sworn in at a special ceremony in which Police Chief Jack Mentzer told them that they were about to embark on a career that has both gruesome and delightful aspects.
Officers Evan Bigler and Dan Wengiel were sworn in on Monday, July 10, by Mayor Chuck Mummert, who is responsible for overseeing the police force. Mentzer warned them that the work police officers do can be emotionally draining.
“There are going to be things that the public doesn’t get to see that you are going to see all the time,” Mentzer said.
But Mentzer said there are some parts of the job that are wonderful, such as the satisfaction of helping people change their lives for the better.
“You are going to have some of the most rewarding times of your life as a police officer,” Mentzer said.
Mentzer said Elizabethtown is a particularly good place for an officer to work because of the public’s attitude toward law enforcement.
“We are very fortunate in our community; we have a community that supports our police,” Mentzer said, adding that it is important for police to maintain a good relationship with the public.
“We can’t alienate the public; we have to be one with the public. They are our eyes and ears,” Mentzer said.
Bigler and Wengiel both brought guests to the ceremony; Mentzer urged the families of the new officers to have patience with the way police work can disrupt family life. He urged the families to listen to the officers when they need to talk about the problems they encounter on the job and to understand when the officers have to miss family events because emergencies cause them to work beyond their scheduled shifts.
“Please be patient. Know that that’s part of the oath we take and part of the service we provide to our community,” Mentzer said.
Mentzer told Bigler and Wengiel that although Elizabethtown’s police force is small, there are opportunities for advancement within the department.
“The sky’s the limit,” Mentzer said, noting that new officers can aim for specialties such as investigation of traffic crashes or becoming a detective.
“This is a great time and I wish you the very best of luck,” Mentzer said, adding that police work puts them in rare company, with the nation having only three citizens out of every 1,000 in the occupation. He said officers in various police forces have a special bond with one another that is seldom seen in other fields.
Mentzer said both new officers are outstanding young man who are expected to make excellent police officers for Elizabethtown.
The new officers have several things in common: Both are Lancaster County natives; both achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts; both graduated from the Reading Police Academy last month and both go by their middle names (their full names are Samuel Evan Bigler and Edward Daniel Wengiel II).
Bigler, the son of Samuel and Cindy Bigler, grew up in Millersville and graduated from Penn Manor High School in 2012. He went on to additional schooling at Thaddeus Stevens School of Technology and Harrisburg Area Community . He graduated from HACC with an associate’s degree in criminal justice. He lives in Millersville and enjoys hunting, fishing and fitness activities.
Wengiel, the son of David and Kate Wengiel, grew up in Denver, Pa., and attended Cocalico High School, where he played lacrosse and graduated in 2012. After high school, he attended Misericordia University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in social work. While at Misericordia he played lacrosse and was a resident adviser for three years. He lives in the Denver area where he enjoys running and other fitness activities as well as hunting and fishing and spending time with family and friends.