WHYY offers more details on Jenkintown Police Department’s future

On Thursday, February 8, Glenside Local covered the fiscal uncertainties looming over the Jenkintown Police Department’s future.

On Tuesday, February 13, WHYY published a follow-up story which offers a few more details about the issue:

1. The article notes that the borough spends over half of its annual budget on police services, including 10 full-time patrol officers, a part-time officer and a chief.

“The growth in the cost of policing is outpacing the growth in the rest of the borough to try to grow with it,” Mayor Gabriel Lerman told WHYY. “We realize that that is not sustainable and something has to change.”

“Providing an independent police force is not as efficient nor can it even scale to provide all of the services that neighboring police departments can because they are larger,” Lerman said.

2. Jenkintown residents have the sixth highest municipal taxes and the second highest school taxes in the county, according to WHYY.

“We honestly believe that we would be getting more services and better services because neighboring police departments have a lot more to offer than what we currently have.” Council President Jay Conners said.

3. The article goes on to consider alternatives involving the Cheltenham and Abington police departments (Abington has the second largest force in the county), and notes that similar solutions to similar problems have happened in other nearby municipalities.

“When you contract police services you are getting the full capability of that police department that you’re contracting with,” Jenkintown Police Chief Tom Scott told WHYY. “So you’re getting a full patrol division. You’re getting a detective division. You’re getting a community policing division. You’re getting a traffic safety unit, if they have that.”

Chief Scott also acknowledged the human cost that would come with a departmental overhaul, particularly among officers who have been with the department for more than 20 years.

“We’re gonna make sure that we take care of our employees every which way we can,” Scott said. “We’re not going to just leave them out, hanging dry and say ‘you’re done and you’re laid off and we’re not doing anything to help you.’ We wouldn’t do that. We’re not that type of organization. So if this decision was ever made, there would be every effort to help those police find another job.”

For the full story, you can click here.

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