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Macungie Considers Regional Police Force

The move would be a possible merger with Alburtis and Lower Macungie and Upper Milford townships.

Macungie Council again discussed the possibility of forming a regional police force at its July 5 meeting.

Council President Guy Ramsey learned that Lower Macungie Township was given several offers to contract services from other municipalities.  Ramsey presented a proposal to council to meet with the township and discuss a regional police force, possibly involving Alburtis and Upper Milford Township, as well. 

“I don’t know where to begin,” Ramsey said.

Macungie Police Chief Ed Harry, however, said he and his officers agree a consolidated force would be a good thing.

“I am absolutely all for it,” said Chief Harry after the meeting. “I have approached council on several occasions about looking into it.” 

Borough Manager Chris Boehm said forming a regional police force can take a long time and now is the time to start discussing it. 

Mayor Rick Hoffman is also in favor of a regional force.

“Regionals can work if they are set up properly," Hoffman said, "But there can be lots of problems until everything gets worked out.

Councilman Joseph Sikorski also agrees it's not too soon to start discussions.

“Maybe they won’t want to go with a regional police force, but we just have to talk,” Sikorski said.

Some concerns include whether the police officers would retain their jobs if the borough went regional. 

“All the officers would keep their jobs," Harry said after the meeting. "However, depending on how the charter is written, I may not.  I am not a civil servant and not guaranteed my position.”

Residents would be just as safe as they are now, he said.

“The beauty of it is,” Harry said, “It takes the politics out of it [the police force].”

At the meeting Boehm said would draft a letter to the Lower Macungie Township Commissioners inviting them to get together for a meeting to discuss a possible regional police force.

In other business, Boehm gave a heads-up that the Macungie Fire Department has sent out letters to all households for their 2011 Fund Drive.  Boehm reminded residents that the fire company is an all-volunteer department and needs the residents’ support. 

A donation of $40 per household is all that is asked, she said.

Jay Gatsby July 07, 2011 at 02:06 PM
NO! Don't you all realize that the service we get from the PSP is a great deal? If we get a PD, here are some of the problems: 1. We must hire officers - (TAXES) 2. We must equip officers and provide a building, cars, vests, weapons, communications equipment, etc (MORE TAXES) 3. We must provide PENSIONS! (WAY MORE TAXES) Pensions are the problem that bankrupt many communities! 4. Any lawsuits filed will be charged to our municipalities and hence to the TAXPAYERS! In a time where financial solvency is a major problem, additional costs should be avoided. I completely oppose the regional police idea. We get great service from PSP. Keep it. Don't waste money on something that we do not need. All it will end up being is higher taxes and speed traps.
optimist July 07, 2011 at 04:31 PM
I agree this should be looked into. This area has an exploding population particularly in Lower Mac. Twsp. Do we continue to rely on a state police force? Maybe, but I woud like to see the pros and cons.
Melissa Moyer-Schneck July 08, 2011 at 03:19 PM
And when it comes to the pros and cons, my concern would be the costs involved, I know we pay something to the PSP, but how much of a difference would it be and do we, the taxpayers, want to or feel the need to take on our own police force? Lots of research has to be done without any BACKDOOR deals by anyone this time!
Matt Ginn July 08, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Act 1500 is coming. $150 per capa tax for PSP coverage. 30,000 x $150 = 4.5 Mil for LM. Why not involve Emmaus in these discussions and make it the whole EPSD. They also have the infrastructure ready to use.
voice of reason July 08, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Act 1500 died in committee on June 30, 2011. This will not happen with Governor Corbett in office, he has allocated millions more to the PSP then Gov Rendell did. The proposed legislation got too much resistance from the rural municipalities. Sorry status quo for the next 3.5 years at a minimum.
Matt Ginn July 09, 2011 at 02:24 AM
It is far from dead. HB 1228, 1500, or a new number will be back. The state can not afford to provide coverage for retail theft at Walmart or running a stop sign on Willow Ln.
optimist July 09, 2011 at 10:20 AM
I'm thinking that eventually the state will pass something forcing us to pay a fee. The present arrangment is unlikely to go on forever.
Carl W July 09, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Truthfully, I've avoided doing business anywhere in Macungie, because they have a history of looking for anyone, anywhere they can ticket. Step lightly, Lower Mac.
Carl W July 09, 2011 at 09:54 PM
If I lived in Lower Macungie, I'd beg & plead for Emmaus to take it. If not, stay w/ P.S.P.
Carl W July 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
The answer's in your comment. STOP the exploding population! My God, where are the rolling hills, spotted with clusters of trees, & flowing with serene acres of corn? Now, you just dig it up & put up ugly rows of ticky-tacky houses. Take a good hard look., and look to your right as you drive south on #309, through Upper Suacon. Soon after, you'll get to the hill that was shaved of it's naturally dignity & beauty, for some more cheap, U-G-L-Y houses!!!!
Carl W July 09, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Actually, with P.S.P. no longer patrolling their neighborhood, maybe you could pay for them to move from Fogelsville to Lower Mac?
Jon Geeting July 17, 2011 at 09:38 PM
I think what would make the most sense is a regional force providing police service to Lower Macungie, Macungie, Alburtis, Upper Milford, Lower Milford and Emmaus. You could probably save a lot of money by consolidating administration on the back end, and using some of the current department buildings as precinct offices. The state's not going to let Lower Macungie keep mooching forever, so it's inevitable that you're going to have to pay more in taxes for some kind of police service. You might as well do it across a broad tax base so it's less expensive per capita. Also, Don Cunningham likes regional initiatives, so I bet he could be convinced to back county funding for a study on this.

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