Saltsburg supports proposed study of regional police force
Saltsburg Borough Council members packed a few major items into a short monthly meeting Monday as they filled a vacant seat on their panel and supported a proposed feasibility study for a regional police force.
Saltsburg Police Chief Gary Walker said he'd been approached about looking into possibile development of a regional police department. So he contacted the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which acts as an outreach agency for the governor's office, conducting studies and surveys to determine the feasibility of regional police enforcement.
Walker said a number of factors are taken into account in such studies, among them the finances and manpower that would be needed to operate a regional force.
Before joining the Saltsburg force, Walker gained experience with the Mifflin County Regional Police Department in Lewistown. He said a person who helped form that force advised him to contact DCED officials, who told him to first determine what local municipalities might be interested in a regional arrangement.
In addition to Saltsburg, Walker said he sent letters Monday to four neighboring communities — Conemaugh Township in Indiana County, and Bell and Loyalhanna townships and Avonmore Borough in Westmoreland County — and asked them to respond by the end of February.
All entities that would be involved in the study must sign a letter of intent, which authorizes the DCED to conduct the study.
“They can't do anything until the member municipalities would sign the letter of intent,” Walker said. “That's the very first step.”
Details of costs versus savings for participating municipalities wouldn't be available until the study is conducted, but according to Walker, “Coming from a department that went to a regional department, the cost savings were astronomical. If you cut down on every department in every municipality buying liability insurance, only buying one policy for a department, that in itself is astronomical in savings.”
Some of the discrepancies that did crop up in the regional department transition, such as contract issues and scheduling hours, were worked out within two years' time, he said..
Should the study be approved, the DCED would look closely at road miles, population figures, median incomes and median housing costs for municipalities interested in a regional department. The study would also look at the costs of existing departments, and for those without a current police force, how much they lose on citations that have to be filed on their behalf by the state police.
Saltsburg Council agreed to sign the letter of intent to join the proposed regional police study.
In other business Monday night, James Simpson was appointed to fill a council position left vacant by the resignation of Michelle Jesko last month. Simpsong, who submitted the sole letter of interest for the post, will be sworn in at the March meeting.
Two part-time police officers were hired Monday, each at $10 an hour. Jared Keple and Jason Kerr are both from Apollo and will help cover some additional police hours that were approved by council last year.
Art Stramaski submitted his resignation as the borough meter reader. Council accepted his resignation with regret and hired veteran and borough resident David Teres to take on the position at $8.25 per hour.
Council also briefly discussed the borough's planned purchase of the mobile home court at High Street and Pine Court Way. Current owners Raymond and Ed Bell have signed an agreement to sell the property to the borough, citing a price of $47,000.
Borough Solicitor Wayne Kablack is currently working to determine any outstanding bills on the property, which would be deducted from the price. Once that agreement is reached, council will sign the paperwork to transfer ownership of the property.
Council has said the site could be a possible location for a community playground or a maintenance building.
In other business, borough council:
• Announced the Indiana County Recycling Center will offer a drop-off collection of recyclable materials across from the Fuel Land service station on the following dates — March 16, May 18, July 20, Sept. 21 and Nov. 16. Call the center at 724-479-0444 for additional details;
• Approved a building permit for 235 Washington St., to replace the existing furnace and A/C unit.
Gina DelFavero is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or email@example.com.
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.
- Brush Valley club members promote interest in antique tractors
- York man, 21, accused of assaulting Indiana Borough police officer
- Indiana County Humane Society ready to open new, roomier shelter
- Indiana Regional Medical Center marks centennial with book, campus addition
- 2 men charged in $1M arson at Brush Valley business
- Indiana County board joins voices opposing EPA Clean Power Plan
- United OKs bond issue, bills for high school renovation
- Police seek person who fired gun into Indiana Borough home
- Police, firefighters locate missing Homer City boy