BRADDOCK (KDKA) — Four boroughs in the Mon Valley are considering a proposal to combine police departments.
The “regionalized police department” would take care of Rankin, Braddock, North Braddock and East Pittsburgh.
The police department in East Pittsburgh was dissolved following the killing of Antwon Rose. State police help to patrol there now, as well as in Rankin.
The regionalization proposal would create one centralized police department in one building.
Ranklin Chief of Police Ryan Wooten is the only full-time officer in his entire department, which is why he supports the idea of regionalization.
“Put everything together, put everything in one pot, give everybody what they want: full time officers, better trained officers, better officers to serve the community,” he said.
The proposal comes out of a regionalization study done by the state of Pennsylvania.
In a press release from Braddock Borough Mayor Chardae Jones, borough representatives say the advantages of a centralized police department include budgeting, more coverage for the areas, better training, better equipment and leadership.
“You would save money because you would combine the cars that you already have, just use your best cars, and you would also save money on not everyone having a building,” said Mayor Jones.
Between all four boroughs, there are only three full-time officers with part-time officers filling out the rest of the force. A regionalized department would allow for more full-time officers.
The four boroughs would have to agree to the framework of a plan, and that could take several meetings to iron out.
This comes at a time when some people are calling to defund the police. Mayor Jones admits some issues include schedules and coverage because Rankin and East Pittsburgh rely on state police.
“Do you want faster response times or do you not want faster response times? Depending on the situation. That’s how you gotta really look at it,” said Rankin resident William Hurst.
A vote on a resolution is expected in October.