Are Nazareth and Upper Nazareth Township Merging Police Departments?

Pamela Sroka Holzmann reports:

Nazareth Borough Council is inching closer to merging police forces with a neighboring municipality, according to the borough police union’s vice president.

Although no one commented on which municipality Nazareth may merge with, Mayor Fred Daugherty Jr. and council President Dan Chiavaroli were part of a private meeting tonight with the Upper Nazareth Township board of supervisors, which supervisors said was to discuss “police services.”

Stephen Schleig, vice president of the Nazareth Police Association, today confirmed borough council members asked union members to renew their contract with the borough for one year, with a zero pay scale increase in a “good faith” agreement that they would be part of a proposed police merger with a neighboring municipality.

Joining the Colonial Regional was a better idea, but they didn’t want to hire Nazareth’s police officers so it looks like a smaller merger could happen. That’s great, but it’s also too bad. Police officers are providing a service. Everybody seems to be saying that the current group of officers on the Nazareth police force aren’t so good. But the borough is sticking with the lower quality officers anyway, instead of buying coverage from a higher quality police force, out of what appears to be some mistaken sense of loyalty. If the company you awarded a garbage contract to turned out to do a bad job, you’d replace them. They’re providing you a service, and if the service is no good, you start looking around for a better value.

The taxpayers vs. service providers frame on municipal politics is something I think a lot of liberals are nervous to embrace, probably because conservatives “own” that issue, but I don’t see why that should be the case. There’s nothing valiant about getting a bad deal, and when taxpayers feel that they aren’t getting a good value for their tax dollar, it undermines the liberal case for robust public services.


  1. What does their union contract say, can the police union block a merger if they’re not greased – er, taken care of? You’re assuming loyalty, when in fact they may have no choice.

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