High Quality Police Services Are the Most Important Thing

PA’s process for consolidating police departments (and school districts and municipalities) provides way too many veto points for different parochial actors to scuttle the negotiations, so for those who want to increase the number of municipalities sharing services, this is really a state issue. I think a County Executive who was determined to create a County police department could probably move the ball down the field quite a bit on this issue, but state action to streamline and encourage this process is still needed.

I don’t want to let the local legislators off the hook though, just because the process is poorly designed. Poor design or not, police department mergers are still quite possible if people are willing to take the parochial blinders off, stop attaching so many contentious conditionals, and stop finding bad arguments persuasive.

Nazareth would be well-served by the Colonial Regional Police just like its neighboring municipalities are. The land area is small enough and crime is low enough that it really would not be a big step for CR to incorporate Nazareth into their service area.

The trouble is that Nazareth borough council keeps insisting that Colonial Regional must hire their current officers, who are apparently not the greatest. Lower Nazareth isn’t having any of it, and they presently have veto rights over Nazareth contracting for police coverage with Colonial Regional, so its not going to happen. Nazareth clearly would be better-policed with the regional department, but because they’re getting hung up on the labor issue, they’re going to end up worse off. I’m for treating public employees well, but the most important thing is the services. How are you going to scuttle a deal that’s better for residents on public safety and cost metrics just because four cops might end up worse off? The services are the most important thing.

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