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Export officials debate state police coverage

| Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 9:48 p.m.

Some Export residents are concerned the borough is not receiving adequate coverage from state police at Kiski Valley, which has provided police service for the community since the 1970s.

But the mayor says he's satisfied with police response for the borough, which is less than a half-mile in area and has nearly 900 residents.

Resident Paul Yurinko, who lives on Hamilton Avenue, feels Export should end its long-time agreement with state police and explore other options.

"State police have a lot of area to cover. Export needs to take a serious look at having Murrysville patrol the area," Yurinko said.

The Kiski Valley barracks, located about seven miles from Export, covers Salem Township and every municipality north of Route 22 that does not have a police force.

Mayor Bob Campagna said state police have handled calls in Export since the borough last had a full-time officer in the early 1970s. In the 1980s, council voted 4-3 to reject a motion to utilize Murrysville police, citing cost as a factor.

"We're dealing with something hit-and-miss," Campagna said of the police coverage concerns. "All in all, we're satisfied to a point. I don't think there's anything in the cards that would necessitate us doing anything at this point with the budget we have. We've always had a good response from them. They're doing an adequate job with the manpower they have."

Export Councilwoman Donna Thatcher said state police do their job, but she wouldn't mind seeing a police force in town.

"They've always done well in Export and when we ask them to, they step up," Thatcher said. "We have to have them here 24/7. People come to Export and know there's no police force in town, they're going to take their chances. It would be nice if Export could have its own police force. Whether it's in our budget, I don't know."

Resident Cindy Cook, who lives on Lincoln Avenue, said drivers don't abide by speed limits because there are no regular police patrols to stop them.

"People fly up this road," Cook said. "There was a dog killed a year ago right in front of my door step. There are kids running along the road. Something's going to end up happening and it's not going to be very nice."

Lt. Dale Blasko, station commander for the Kiski Valley barracks, said patrols have been increased in Export since August, when the borough was hit hard by flooding and residents raised concerns.

"We have patrol checks through the entire borough," Blasko said. "We'll set up patrol checks throughout our jurisdiction when council members or citizens express concerns. We've been paying particular attention to Export at the request of borough council and residents."

Blasko plans to attend Export council's next meeting Tuesday to address any questions or concerns.

Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld there have been no serious discussions to provide police coverage to Export, which is about four miles away from the municipality.

"There had been talk, but nothing formal," Seefeld said. "It's something we would entertain, if that's something that they would want to look into. There are things that would have to be worked out."

Meanwhile, Yurinko vows to continue his campaign.

"Until something gets done, I'm going to keep hammering them," he said.

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