State police reveal cost of local police coverage: $600M

Associated Press, York Dispatch

The Pennsylvania State Police says it costs $600 million a year to provide full-time coverage to 2.5 million residents in nearly 1,300 municipalities that don't pay for a local police force.

State Police walk along a closed southbound I-83 searching for evidence after a car crashed into a tractor-trailer after the car's driver was apparently fleeing police north of the Emigsville Exit Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The coroner was called to the scene. Bill Kalina photo

State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker gave the figure at Thursday's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. The state police hadn't divulged a cost figure in response to repeated requests by The Associated Press.

Senators' questions about the cost came after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf proposed charging those municipalities an annual $25-per-person fee for the coverage. The proposed fee would raise $63 million, but it's unclear whether the Republican-controlled Legislature would approve it.

That $600 million is roughly half of the state police's $1.2 billion budget, most of which is funded by money constitutionally restricted to highway construction, repair and safety.