BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — Three small towns are planning to create the first regional police department in Beaver County.
Baden, Freedom and Conway boroughs are considering combining their police forces, which include 11 officers.
“We finally got to the point where we have a tentative agreement,” said John Shelkons, Baden Borough council member 1.
Shelkons said this merger had been in the works for about two years. The mayors from all three boroughs, police and council members had been working together and are now in the final stages.
“We are hoping to have this in place by April. June at the latest,” said Shelkons.
But before the merger materializes, the boroughs are holding town meetings this week to seek feedback from residents.
Shelkons said forming a regional police force would benefit the boroughs financially.
“It will save us money in the long run, not immediately but there are also grants available from the state to get our matching cars, uniforms and badges,” said Shelkons.
The boroughs plan to have one chief and locate the main office in Conway, since it’s in the center.Currently, police in Conway already cover Freedom Borough since Freedom disbanded their police department last year.Shelkons said all current full-time officers will keep their jobs. But right now, the boroughs are struggling to hire more officers, which is part of the reason why they are creating the regional police department.
“Last time we had an advertisement for an officer, we only had seven people apply. Only one passed both tests,” said Shelkons.As part of the agreement, the boroughs are also creating a police committee with members from each borough.The boroughs expect to vote on the regional police department in the next month or so.Officials said the merger won’t impact police response time as the towns are minutes apart and officers from each borough already work together.
“They back each other up on numerous occasions so it’s not like this is something they aren’t familiar with,” said Shelkons.
Baden Borough plans to hold its town meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Freedom and Conway boroughs will hold their town meeting at Conway Fire’s social hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
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