TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Cheswick Council rejects proposals to disband police

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By George Guido
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:51 a.m.
 

The Cheswick Police Department will remain intact — at least for now.

Council on Tuesday night turned thumbs-down on two proposals that would have disbanded the borough's police department and received its police protection from neighboring municipalities.

The specter of how much money the borough would actually save was brought into question before reviewing the proposals.

Cheswick has $343,000 budgeted for police this year.

Council voted 4-2 to reject a $182,000 proposal by Springdale Borough to supply police coverage to Cheswick.

Councilmen Jonathan Skedel and Neal Hohman voted in favor. Council members Vickie Roolf, Sherman Kephart, Brian Harvanek and Peter Holka voted no. Councilman Frank Meledandri Jr. was absent.

Then, Skedel asked council to accept a $179,000 offer from Harmar. No one else went along.

Roolf said Harmar couldn't satisfy Cheswick's requirement that an officer be stationed in the borough at all times.

In a related move, which occurred before the votes on the neighboring police coverage proposals, council accepted the resignation of full-time Officer Cindy Busch.

Kephart said savings on Busch's salary, benefits and related costs could save the borough as much as $38,000 a year Busch is replaced by part-timers.

The councilman also said a firm accounting of actual savings is needed before he would ever support disbanding the police department.

Council members also said the loss of a full-time police officer means less that would have to be contributed toward a pension.

“I don't have a calculator on me; I want to see how much this will actually save us,” Roolf said.

Borough Treasurer Tom Cale said he would “price it out for the next meeting.”

Skedel, who has favored looking at neighboring municipalities for police coverage since becoming a councilman last year, said he doesn't want to add new, full-time officers to pension costs. He said Springdale has everything Cheswick has asked for, including front and rear cameras in patrol cars and a camera on a Taser stun gun.

“It's still cheaper to go with outside services,” Skedel said. “That will save us $1 million over the next five years.”

Skedel then walked out of the meeting, to the brisk applause of audience members.

Police Chief Robert Scott is now the borough's only full-time police officer.

Kephart quoted Tom Benecki, director of the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments, as saying that merging Cheswick police with either the Frazer, East Deer or Springdale Township departments would have such a small savings that it wouldn't benefit the communities.

Attempts to reach Benecki after the meeting were unsuccessful.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Northbound Rt. 28 ramp to 31st Street Bridge closed tonight
  2. Mt. St. Peter draws crowds with 34th annual Festa Italiana in New Kensington
  3. USW rallies in support of ATI, other steel companies’ employees
  4. Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations
  5. Child pornography videos tied to Winfield man
  6. South Butler superintendent heads home for Mohawk job
  7. ATI reveals details of contract offer to steelworkers union
  8. Parks Township breeder hosts 3rd annual Lab Fest
  9. Avonmore mayor to resign after being charged with theft
  10. HBO to end ‘Banshee’ series, disappointing Vandergrift
  11. High-rise medical visits aimed at curbing 911 calls in New Kensington