Braddock considering merging with new Eastern Regional Mon Valley Police Department

BRADDOCK, Pa. — During a special meeting in Braddock Tuesday night, there were a lot of questions about what it means for the borough to join forces with the Eastern Regional Mon Valley Police Department.

“Do we get extra coverage or no?” said one man who was told no.

Another community member asked, “How many policemen do we have?”

Borough Manager Lou Ransom Jr. said he called the meeting because he wanted to be transparent with the community about what a merger would look like.

Though no decision has been made yet, Ransom said it makes sense to do it but needs more information.

“We’d rather work together when we have problems that are similar, and we can combine our resources to come up with some solutions,” he said.

The regional police commissioners said merging would better protect the borough and save taxpayers money in the long run.

“I can tell you last year, you budgeted $534,161 for your police...and it’s only going to go up from there in cost,” said North Braddock Borough Council President Lisa Franklin.

The Braddock police force only has three officers who are all part time. Some neighbors said they don’t feel safe.

“Right now, I don’t feel safe going out of my house at a certain time because there are things that are happening in Braddock. It’s lawless,” said Takia Mitchell of Braddock.

The newly formed Eastern Regional Mon Valley Police force has six officers with another one starting this week.

Chief Derrick Turner wasn’t able to come to Tuesday night’s meeting. Turner, who was sworn in as chief in May, is still working on getting his state certification. He told Channel 11 he plans to fully finish the process within the next month.

The chief and the police commission believe merging the departments would benefit the region and entice more officers to join with higher pay.

“They’re not going to want to make $14 to $18 an hour working here part time when they can make $60,000 to $65,000 right next door,” Franklin said.

Many of the community members are for the merger.

“We’ve been paying for a police force that is nonexistent,” said Bob Ketcham of Braddock. “So, anything that can improve that is a no brainer to me.”

Former Councilwoman Tina Doose is hopeful for a merger.

“This is an absolute benefit to regionalization, and we need a police force that can stand for our community and help us address concerns,” Doose said.

The police commissioners and borough leaders will meet in a couple of weeks to start working out some of the details.

The Eastern Regional Mon Valley Police Department is looking to hire five more officers.

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