Stewartstown borough officials should be seriously considering the information provided at a Tuesday meeting to discuss the possibility of joining the Southern Regional Police Department.

Because this is a proposal with lots of potential benefits.

Let's count them:

1. The borough would receive 24-7 police coverage, something its own borough police force doesn't provide now.

2. The borough would receive services from a larger regional department with 14 officers as opposed to the four it has now.

3. Stewartstown's four officers would not be out of work. They would join the regional department, albeit on a probationary basis for the first year.

4. Even with the $123,000 in first-year buy-in costs included, Stewartstown's police costs would rise by only $10,000 in 2014 from what the borough budgeted for police this year. The buy-in costs drop to $83,000 in years two through four, meaning the borough would see some savings.

5. After the fourth year, those savings increase. To the tune of $100,000 per year.

Prior to Tuesday's meeting, one council member wondered if Stewartstown really needed the services a regional police department would provide, calling the borough "kind of a sleepy town."

Well, four police officers and a police budget of nearly $450,000 sounds like a lot for a sleepy town.

Especially when more services are available at a lower cost.


Advertisement

Are those down-the-road cost savings guaranteed? Of course not. But the regional police budget would have to skyrocket for Stewartstown to wind up spending more than it is now on what amounts to a part-time police department.

Study after study has demonstrated the folly and inefficiency of Pennsylvania's fragmented system of providing government services.

In terms of police coverage, York County has made great strides in that regard, with well-operating regional forces taking the place of tiny borough and township departments in several communities.

Stewartstown officials should be applauded for evaluating whether to do with same.

Now, with the facts and figures outlined, it's difficult to find a reason why they shouldn't.