Chief David Steffen on regional policing and a culture that sustains high performance

PCC Local Time

May 31 2023 • 1 hr 6 mins

Chief David Steffen, became Chief of the newly formed Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department in 2012. He talks with me about regional policing and community safety, and how the regional focus shapes standards and professionalism. I ask Chief Steffen what drives his efforts to create a culture of openness and accountability. He talks about the importance of technology, training and education, and a culture of openness to change the way people interact with and understand the role of police in their community. In this episode you will hear about why and how he evolved practices and policies to create a sustainable practice of high-performance policing.


Chief David Steffen - LinkedIn

Chief David Steffen leads the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department’s 34-officer force. This is the final chapter in a law enforcement career that began in over forty years ago. Most recently, Steffen concluded 27 years of service with the Northern York County Regional Police Department, a 65-full time officer department serving over 88,000 residents. During his career Chief Steffen developed specializations in advanced forensics, death investigations, child abuse, and sex offense investigation. He has been assigned to countless complex criminal cases and has investigated over a dozen homicides including the arrest of a serial killer who was portrayed in the national media.

As the final chapter of a rewarding career, Chief Steffen was provided a very unique opportunity to design and command a newly formed regional police department putting the lessons learned in a career of regional policing into a newly created department from the actual beginning of the agency.

Since inception on January 1, 2012 the newly established Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department has grown and now serves the residents of Clay Township, Penn Township, Warwick Township, and the Borough of East Petersburg. The NLCRPD has emerged as a high performance, progressive, professional, full service law enforcement agency utilizing technology, training, with emphasis on career development of agency members in the delivery of high quality police services to approximately 42,500 residents. The agency is accredited and is only one of 116 agencies among over 1,100 in the Commonwealth who are accredited.

Chief Steffen currently serves as Chairman of the Executive Board, and immediate past President of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. He serves on various executive committees including the legislative, training and education committee. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission Board, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and other professional organizations. Chief Steffen is married to his wife Lisa for over 42 years and has four adult children, and two grandchildren. In his spare time, he is an avid fly fisherman, outdoors enthusiast, and enjoys RV camping at state parks, cooking and being with his family.


4:20 …A system of tracking of time and other, key performance metrics to provide proof (that they were getting what they paid for) and transparency.

6:18 How the position of Chief was filled….

10:24 Every officer has to have some sort of self-actualization.

11:48 The Goldilocks Story

13:30 That’s the way we have always done it…

18:08 Collaboration across departments (and municipalities) e.g., MS4 example

20:13 Challenges when forming a new department.

22:40 Recruitment and selection of officers

29:00 Attention to diversity

31:51 Emphasis on first-line supervision

37:13 Technology is not used for “gotcha”

41:38 Structure in our organizational charter is providing proofs to our municipalities that we deliver, the services that they pay...