Stewartstown will explore its police service options as it takes part in a study aimed at finding the best way for the borough to provide police protection to its residents.
The study, conducted by retired as West Shore Police chief Howard Dougherty on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, will cost the borough nothing.
The study will examine whether the borough should stick with its own police department, merge with a regional department or start its own regional department, said Gordon Wisnom, borough council president.
"We're just trying to determine which way is more economical ... what will give us more bang for our buck," Gordon said.
The study is in its preliminary phase and may take "six months, if not a year," to complete, Wisnom said.
Merger? its own police department composed of four officers currently serves Stewartstown. Under a full staff, seven officers serve in the department.
That leaves the borough lacking round-the-clock police protection, Wisnom said.
"A lot of our residents want 24/7 (police service,)" he said.
One option the study could produce is for the department to merge with the Southern York County Regional Police Department, which provides full-time service to Glen Rock, New Freedom and Shrewsbury boroughs, as well as part time coverage to Loganville.
Spokes: The Southern York County Regional Police commission will also take part in the study to see if it makes sense to bring Stewartstown on board.
Stewartstown is divided from Southern York County Regional's jurisdiction by Hopewell Township, but it's a four- to five-minute drive between the two.
The regional department, which has 10 police officers, and Stewartstown Police have worked together in the past, and the two face many of the same crime problems, said Chief James Boddington of Southern York County Regional.
While adding Stewartstown to its jurisdiction could increase call volume, Boddington said the possibility of adding the borough's police officers to the department would increase manpower.
Comparing a regional police department to a wagon wheel with spokes, Boddington said it makes sense for Stewartstown to join the department.
"If you have more spokes, you can spread out the weight," he said.
-- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.