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York County was the first to have a regional police department in the state when Northern York County Regional Police formed in September 1972.

Now, nearly 50 years later, York County has five regional police departments — the most of any county in Pennsylvania, according a 2018 report from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Statewide, there are 36 regional departments spread out among 23 counties, the report stated.

The five York County regional departments provide service to more than 160,000 residents throughout 27 municipalities over about 360 square miles. The number of departments could soon drop to four, as the Southwestern Regional Police Department is on the verge of dissolution. 

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Northern Regional formed in 1972 after the General Assembly passed the Intergovernmental Agreement Act, which allowed municipalities to delegate powers to a governmental unit, or a police board made up of municipalities, according to the department.

When Northern Regional formed, it served Dover Township, Dover borough, Wellsville, Manchester Township and Paradise Township, according to Deputy Chief David Lash.

Northern Regional now covers about 150 square miles throughout Dover borough, Dover Township, Manchester Township, Paradise Township, Conewago Township, North York, Franklin Township and Jackson Township. North Codorus Township will be joining in 2020, as will Manheim Township.

The department now serves roughly 66,000 residents with more than 50 officers. It started with 14 officers, according to Lash.

Northeastern Regional Police followed Northern with its creation in January 1983, according to Chief Bryan Rizzo.

That department initially served Manchester, Mount Wolf and East Manchester Township, the three communities it still serves to this day. 

It wasn't until nearly a decade later that Southern Regional Police formed, in January 1992.

Southwestern Regional and York Area Regional police departments are the newest additions to the county's lineup of regional police forces, with York Area forming in June 2000 and Southwestern forming in July 2002.

York Area Regional Police has gone on to become one of the biggest departments in the county during that time. It currently has about 45 officers. 

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

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