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Ford City's police recommendation: Cops or not?

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Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

If you're a Ford City resident who wants to maintain a police force in the borough, now would be the time to start attending council meetings and letting your voice be heard.

There was a rumor in June that the police department would be disbanded. In July the rumor became a police committee recommendation. Sometime soon, the council is likely to vote on whether to accept the recommendation and move forward with eliminating its force of two full-time and about a dozen part-time officers.

It is a recommendation rooted in finances. Maintaining a police force is costly, and Ford City officials no longer think it is an affordable expense. The borough needs a new water plant. It has aging water pipes, wells and pump stations in need of repair. And it has a nearly $600,000 federal debt for defaulting on a grant received for economic development years ago.

It is easy to see that the borough needs money. It is tougher to determine whether disbanding the police department is the right way to get it.

The three members of the council who make up the borough's police committee think so. Councilman Gene Banks and Mayor Marc Mantini believe disbanding the force would lead to more crime. But all council members seem to agree that they want public input before taking any action.

The council meets 6 p.m. Monday at the Ford City Public Library. If you have an opinion about eliminating the police force, this is the place you need to be. The council wants to know what you think.

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