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At Monday’s meeting, the North Lebanon Township Board of Supervisors agreed to form a Regional Police Development Committee consisting of supervisors Gary Heisey and Ardy Snook, Police Chief Tim Knight, and township manager Lori Books.
The committee will gather additional information on and consider next steps for a possible regionalized police force with North Cornwall Township.
The board held a public meeting last month to hear public opinions on the prospect. Most at the meeting were in favor of at least giving the idea further consideration.
Snook and Heisey were in favor of forming the committee, with Chairman Ed Brensinger opposed.
Brensinger said he was not sure the plan would play out in the township’s best interest, and he hoped the committee would not waste township time planning a regionalization that does not come to fruition.
“I’m still not convinced it’s a good idea for our township and our residents,” he said, but wished the other supervisors good luck with the committee.
Heisey emphasized that the township is not locked into regionalization, and that the committee gives the township an opportunity to become better informed on the possibility of regionalization.
“I’m leaning toward at least looking more into it and getting more educated on a regionalized police force,” he said.
Heisey also said that since the idea was presented to him, he has spoken with every officer currently on the force, and while opinions vary, most are in favor of regionalization.
Snook noted that, at the informational meeting, several officers came forward in support of regionalization. Knight has also voiced his support for the plan both for the safety of officers and the general public.
“We owe it to the officers to at least consider this opportunity,” Snook said.
The North Lebanon Police Department struggles with short staffing, with some officers even working shifts alone. This can lead to longer response times and increased danger for the officer on shift.
Regionalization would allow the schedule to guarantee at least two officers on shift at one time, though the coverage area would also expand.
Regionalized police forces also tend to have an easier time hiring new recruits and receiving state and federal grants.
In other news, the board unanimously agreed to:
- Accept Ed Brensinger’s retirement as roadmaster.
- Allow Northern Lebanon Little League to renovate the fields at the Township Community Park at their own expense. They agreed to lend township staff and equipment if needed.
- Release $30,000 from the NLT Fire Company Capital Reserve Fund to the Rural Security Fire Company to contribute toward an annual loan payment for a 2021 pumper tanker.
- Allow the GLRA to use the meeting room Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 6 and April 3 at 7 p.m. each day.
- Reduced by $305,270.15 in financial security for the development at 2203 Cumberland St. The outstanding balance is $6,325.
- Pass Resolution #21-2023 requesting a $917,514 Statewide Local Share Assessment Grant to replace the Jay Street Wall.
North Lebanon supervisors meet at the township municipal building the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and do not require prior registration.
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