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St. Vincent College, Latrobe discuss city police working on campus

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Latrobe police could be patrolling St. Vincent College's campus in Unity and providing security at special activities, such as commencement and sporting events, if a agreement is reached between the city and college officials, city officials said Monday.

Latrobe manager Alex Graziani said city representatives have discussed with college officials a proposal to provide the school with up to 100 hours of police protection per year, which is equal to about eight hours a month. The city would be paid at a rate of $95 an hour for the police protection, which would cover the officer's hourly rate and benefits, Graziani said at a council meeting to discuss the agenda for the March 11 meeting.

St. Vincent's campus police force provides campus security, and the city has an agreement with the college to provide protection when requested, Graziani said.

“We believe the visibility (of Latrobe police) would help to reinforce the presence of their (campus) officers,” said Graziani, who wants to prepare an agreement for council's approval.

Solicitor James Kelley said the city may need permission from the Unity supervisors to enforce any township ordinances, such as parking violations, and from state police to enforce any state laws, such as crimes against persons and property.

Police Chief James Bumar and Graziani discussed with Unity supervisors early last year the possibility of providing police services in certain areas of the township — at St. Vincent College, Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and the Greater Latrobe junior and senior high schools.

At the time, Bumar said that Unity supervisors would have to adopt a resolution granting the police department the authority to enforce laws within certain jurisdictions. The city never presented the supervisors with any proposal to provide police services in the township.

Unity, which does not have its own police force, receives police protection from state police at the Greensburg barracks.

“If Unity had its own police force, the college would not have to pay,” Graziani said.

In other matters, Graziani said that the city's engineer predicted that Latrobe will not get a $1 million grant from the state's Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program until 2014.

Graziani said the city has to submit an updated application for the grant, which Latrobe sought to help pay for the $3 million renovation of the downtown parking garage between Spring and Weldon streets.

The city issued $3.8 million in bonds to pay for the parking garage renovations and refinance old debt, so city officials have discussed how the money can be used since the garage renovations are almost finished.

Councilman Richard Jim said that money should be used to pay for the debt related to the garage repairs.

“It was promised to most of us that the money would be used to retire the bonds,” Jim said.

Jim suggested having a representative from PNC Financial Services Group, the Pittsburgh-based bank that handled the bond issue, provide council with recommendations on how to best use the money. The city cannot start repaying the bonds until 2017, five years after the bonds were issued.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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