LOWER NAZARETH TWP., Pa. - Is pulling out of a regional police force a safe option to save some cash?
Several local municipalities have thought about, or done, it in recent years.
Now Lower Nazareth Township is looking into it.
A Lower Nazareth Township official tells us the municipality is only exploring the option for now, but if they go ahead with the move it means a loss of over $1 million for the Colonial Regional Police Department.
In 2014, the Colonial Regional Police Department wanted to add another officer, giving it a force of 25.
"We get a retail theft or an armed robbery and it takes a lot of manpower in order to do that," said Roy Seiple, chief of Colonial Regional Police Department.
Seiple says his department handles over 9,400 calls in Hanover Township, Bath, and Lower Nazareth Township.
So he asked for a budget increase of $350,000 for a total budget of $3.39 million a year.
Everyone expect Lower Nazareth agreed to the funding.
"They voted no for the budget due to the projected increases that would come to the township by virtue of that," added township manager, Timm Tenges.
Tenges is working on an analysis to see if the move to start a Lower Nazareth police department is feasible.
The township contributes $1.2 million a year to the regional police department.
To start a department, the township would have to buy equipment, hire officers, and get a building.
"Clearly we have a certain amount of resources that we could use to do a start-up depending on what the actual ultimate cost is,"said Tenges.
Seiple thinks there are others cost the township needs to consider, items like overtime, specialized training, and what will happen to the officers currently patrolling the streets.
"It's a contractual issue," added Seiple. "I don't know if they will be laid off or if in fact Lower Nazareth township would have to pick them up."
Going under state police jurisdiction is not an option for Lower Nazareth because they do want their own force.
Officials expect supervisors to make a decision sometime in April.
Allentown, PA 18102