Gilpin looks for ways to reduce police costs |
Valley News Dispatch

Gilpin looks for ways to reduce police costs

Chuck Biedka

A Gilpin committee is looking for ways to reduce police costs, with options including sharing services or hiring a neighboring department to patrol the township.

“This is very, very early. A baby step,” said Gilpin Supervisors President Charlie Stull, who is on the exploratory with township Supervisor Susan Brown.

He said Gilpin budgets about $119,000 for police services.

Options that will be discussed by the committee include hiring another police department to patrol Gilpin or retaining the township’s department after hiring a full-time police chief. The township is advertising to hire a full-time police chief.

At least two Leechburg Council members said they are willing to talk with Gilpin supervisors.

“We have wanted to discuss it for quite some time,” said Leechburg Council President Tom Foster. “Council would be very open to discussing the issue.”

Leechburg Councilman Alan Tarr, a former Leechburg police chief, said he likes the idea of talking with nearby towns about shared services possibilities.

Ever-tightening tax dollars make such discussions “the logical way to go,” Tarr said.

And finding and retaining part-time officers is not as easy as it once was for the small township, he said.

Last year, two Leechburg councilmen asked to discuss options, but Gilpin wasn’t ready for such a conservation, Stull said.

Stull hopes talks can be held with Parks and Kiski townships.

If Gilpin and neighboring governments are interested in further exploring options, they could request the state Department of Community and Economic Development to do a study.

One option appears to be off the table: using state police to provide police protection around the clock.

Patrol schedules are now supplemented by state police.

“Asking state police alone to patrol Gilpin is a big ‘no’ from residents who think their response times would take too long in some cases,” Stull said.

Gilpin and Parks townships met with Leechburg officials in 2003 and again in 2009 to discuss possibly forming a regional police force, but nothing materialized.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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