Cheswick Council rejects proposals to disband police
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Northbound Rt. 28 ramp to 31st Street Bridge closed tonight
- Mt. St. Peter draws crowds with 34th annual Festa Italiana in New Kensington
- USW rallies in support of ATI, other steel companies’ employees
- Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations
- Child pornography videos tied to Winfield man
- South Butler superintendent heads home for Mohawk job
- ATI reveals details of contract offer to steelworkers union
- Parks Township breeder hosts 3rd annual Lab Fest
- Avonmore mayor to resign after being charged with theft
- HBO to end ‘Banshee’ series, disappointing Vandergrift
- High-rise medical visits aimed at curbing 911 calls in New Kensington