Exeter police chief recognized for longtime role with BCERT

READING, Pa. - One of Berks County's law enforcement veterans is being honored for his years of leading the county's emergency response team.

Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt and Chief Steven Stinsky, commander of the Berks County Emergency Response Team (BCERT), on Thursday recognized Chief Christopher Neidert on his retirement from BCERT earlier this month.

BCERT is a team of officers from departments across the county that is called out whenever there is a serious police incident that street police are not equipped to handle.

The team is made up of 28 specially trained tactical members and 18 hostage/crisis negotiators. Stinsky compared it to a SWAT team whose goal is to resolve serious police situations peacefully.

Stinsky said that before the team's creation, police departments in Berks County had to rely on state police for such situations, sometimes waiting up to three hours for their arrival. Today, BCERT's response time is 20-30 minutes, according to Stinsky.

Neidert said he is proud of the team he helped to create more than a decade ago.

"We saved over 75 lives responding to calls over all these years," he said.

Neidert has been with the Exeter Township Police Department for 31 years. He's planning to retire in October.

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