BROWNSVILLE (KDKA) — The Borough of Brownsville, population about 2,300, has two full-time and three part-time police officers.
The community is considering adopting an ordinance that would eliminate the police force and turn law enforcement over to the Pennsylvania State Police.
There was no vote Tuesday, but there was a lot of heated discussion at a borough meeting. The idea of disbanding the police department is not going over well in the community.
About 100 people turned out Tuesday night to voice their displeasure, and show support for the department, wearing blue ribbons.
Rev. Dawn Hargraves, of the First United Methodist Church, said. “A police department, it is an indication of community togetherness, that’s why we need to keep our police department intact.”
A restaurant owner said he didn’t think the town could rely on state police if there was an urgent need for an officer.
“We had an incident Saturday, we called the state police for assistance, but three hours later and we never got a response,” David Yukovich said. “They did apologize to us and say they were exceptionally busy because of a fatal shooting.”
A 2016 report found that of the more than 2,500 municipalities across Pennsylvania, near half of them have no local police force and relied on state police.
In fact, eight rural counties have no local police departments at all.
Of the 10 biggest municipalities relying on state police, three are in this area – Hempfield, Unity and White Townships.
A representative of the local state lawmaker told the meeting that bringing in state police may cost more than Brownsville bargained for.
Nate Regotti, the district office director for State Rep. Pam Snyder, said, “Gov. Wolf has proposed a $25- a-head fee to municipalities that do not have police forces. That would mean about $50,000 for Brownsville, without any additional police coverage.”