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The state police quandary: Look locally

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Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Perhaps it is too much to expect.

If we can't get creativity born of cooperation at just one level of government — the local level — we probably should not expect cooperation between state and municipal levels.

Recently, Gov. Tom Corbett announced the state would hire 290 police cadets and 90 civilian police dispatchers in anticipation of retirements from the force and growing demands from rural communities without police departments.

The governor noted that municipalities availing themselves of state police coverage are not contributing to the costs.

So the state leadership's conclusion is to toss more money at the problem. But that's not a solution: It doesn't limit the areas police must cover, nor does it address growing rural crime.

It's time for Pennsylvania lawmakers to explore how to strengthen police coverage in the state where many townships have no police and many boroughs rely on part-timers.

Might we not seriously explore the potential benefits of regional police forces so that everyone in the state can expect reasonable police coverage — patrols, investigations and enforcement of municipal as well as state and federal laws?

What's amazing is that not one rural area lawmaker has initiated a serious exploration of the issue.

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