As companies across the country are closing their doors because of the slow economy, the same thing is happening at police departments in Pennsylvania. In 2008 alone, 18 stations across the state closed for good, leaving State Police to pick up the slack.
Republican State Representative Ron Marsico, who serves parts of Dauphin County, wants to encourage the idea of police regionalization. It's when several police departments merge into one, to serve more people at a lower cost. The combined force would then work together on everything from patrol to investigations.
Marsico says, "many constituents in my area do support examining or doing a study to see if regionalizing police departments would be effective."
Recently, many municipalities across the state have disbanded their departments and chosen to rely on State Police coverage.
PA State Police Spokesman Jack Lewis says, "we think it's probably because of economic conditions, they prefer just to rely on State Police than to pay for their own officers."
Under state law, State Police Protection costs municipalities nothing, but it can cause a strain.
Lewis says, "we feel we're providing full services at this time but obviously, we only have a limited number of officers and as we cover more areas, there will be more of a strain on the department."
Rep. Marsico says, "State Police right now do a tremendous job for what they have, the resources they have, they do great.. but there's only so many State Police personnel in the Commonwealth."
There are about 4200 State Troopers working across the state, that number is predetermined by the State Government.
Rep. Marsico is hoping to look into the issue further and possibly provide incentives for departments that regionalize. He also suggests increasing the enforcement powers of sheriffs and constables.
Lawmaker looking to offer incentives for police regionalization
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