MOUNT PENN, Pa. - In a few days, the Oley Township Police Department will officially be dismantled, paving the way for the Central Berks Regional police force to take up patrol of the area.
Absorbing Oley Township will more than double Central Berks' coverage area, but police said they'll have enough officers to make it work.
In a two-to-one vote recently, Oley's supervisors decided to disband the force and enter into a contract with Central Berks. CBRPD Chief Ray Serafin said Oley Township has been considering the switch for years.
"They did their homework, which is good to make sure this is right for them, and I applaud them, because they did it the right way. It wasn't a hasty decision," Serafin said.
Township leaders said keeping the force as is would be more costly in the long run. They said the switch will save the township nearly $38,000 and provide 24-hour coverage.
"In the long run, I think it's going to be a good thing for everybody," said Oley Township police Chief David White.
The two full-time Oley police employees won't lose their jobs. They'll just have a new post, including White, who will transition to officer.
"Even though the name is going to change and we're going to be part of Central Berks," White said.
Central Berks currently covers Mount Penn, Lower Alsace Township and St. Lawrence. That's about 10-square miles. Absorbing Oley Township adds 27 square miles.
"Having the new area might be a little longer until we're acclimated, but we want to keep the response times at four to five minutes," said Serafin.
While the changes are inevitable, one thing that will stay the same is the work to keep people safe. Three more officers will also be hired.
The switch will officially take place Tuesday.
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