Andrew George reports on a new state study strongly recommending a regional police department for 5 Slate Belt municipalities. He finds no officials to say anything bad about this, and Bangor and Wind Gap officials are supportive, despite Bangor paying the most under the proposed plan:
The study addresses advantages of a regional force such as improved training for officers, improved management and supervision and lower operating costs. Pointing to a separate study conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs, the new study claims that in nine out of 10 situations with proper management, regional departments cost on average 24 percent less than single-municipality departments.
The study proposes a total operating budget for the regional force of about $3.5 million with each municipality’s share based on factors such as population, calls for service, crimes, square miles and road miles.
Wind Gap council member Dave Hess said he expects his fellow council members to vote in support of the plan.
Under that proposed cost breakdown, Bangor would contribute the highest share with 23.26 percent of the total budget, a $7,784 increase from its current 2012 budget. Wind Gap would contribute the least at 10.56 percent of the total budget, a $37,597 decrease from its department’s current operating budget.
The plan calls for 35 full-time officers, including a chief of police, two lieutenants, four patrol sergeants, two detectives, two auxiliary services officers and uniformed patrol officers. Under a proposed four-squad schedule, there would be about six to nine officers on patrol at all times, according to the study.
Also proposed in the study is a five-member board of police commissioners to govern the force; its proposed headquarters would be at the Plainfield Township Municipal Building with a substation at Washington Township’s municipal complex.