Cheswick, Springdale Twp. begin era of regional police force
The Allegheny Valley Regional Police Department is officially on patrol.
Officers started the first shift for the newly formed department, which merged the Cheswick and Springdale Township departments, at 7 a.m. Monday.
The department is headquartered in Springdale Township and has a substation in Cheswick.
The merger took a year and a half. It included a study by the state Department of Community and Economic Development that recommended the merger.
“This is a day we’ve all been looking forward to,” said Shirley Redman, a Springdale Township commissioner who serves as president of the police department commission. “Where we were and what we’ve accomplished in 18 months is astounding.”
A ceremony was held Monday afternoon at the Springdale Township Municipal Building, where residents and officials — including state Sen. Lindsey Williams, state Rep. Frank Dermody, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Allegheny County Councilman Nick Futules — praised the department and the municipalities for working together to get the merger done.
District Judge David Sosovicka swore in the officers. The department has two full-time officers, including Chief Mike Naviglia, and six part-time officers.
“It was a very nice turnout — a lot of support,” Naviglia said.
Officials said it had been 50 years since there was a police merger in the county.
“This is a big, big day in Allegheny County,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a historic day.
“I think you have set the example. It won’t be 50 years (until) the next one.”
Williams said she drove straight from Harrisburg to make the 3 p.m. event.
“You guys have shown a model of what other communities, when they’re looking to do this, can do,” she said.
Springdale Township resident Robert Fairman said he’s always been in favor of the merger.
“I think it’s going to be good,” he said. “I think it’s going to be better coverage.”
Craig Cummings, the department’s other full-time officer, worked the first shift.
“The day-to-day stuff is really not going to change for us,” he said.
Cummings had been with the Springdale Township department for about 12 years and has worked at other departments in the Alle-Kiski Valley for nearly 20 years.
“I’m a small-town guy,” he said.
Cummings said merging with Cheswick means patrolling a few more streets. Springdale Township previously provided mutual aid to police calls in the borough. Cheswick is about 1 square mile.
He said residents should feel at ease about the new department.
“We hope they don’t see any difference (in police coverage) at all except for something good,” he said.