York County regional police merger finalized: What you can expect
The Northeastern Regional Police Department and York Area Regional Police Department will join forces and take to the streets in 2022 under a new name.
This new entity, dubbed the York County Regional Police Department, will start operations on Jan. 1.
The merger was finalized in August with ordinances passed by East Manchester Township, Windsor Township and York Township. Its impact on the taxpayer remains unclear, although such mergers are generally believed to reduce operating expenses.
"With the contracts and dissolution agreements, (officials) have to take them back to their respective councils have to explain what’s going on and how it’s going to affect their residents — so it takes time," said David Naylor, East Manchester Township board vice-chairperson and chair of the Northeastern Regional police board.
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The three municipalities currently covered by Northeastern Regional — East Manchester Township, Manchester borough and Mount Wolf — have not yet had their contracts finalized, he said.
All of that is expected to be finalized by early October, Naylor said.
But Naylor said he expects Manchester and Mount Wolf taxpayers' rates to go down while East Manchester's stay roughly the same. Any increase for East Manchester residents next year would be less than if the merger didn't happen, he added.
"We realized, at Northeast Regional, to provide premier police service with a 12-man group is getting harder each year," he said. "Our budget was growing at a rate that was alarming us."
Naylor also estimated there wouldn't be much change in payment from the six municipalities currently covered by York Area Regional: York Township, Windsor Township, and Dallastown, Spring Grove, Jacobus and Yoe boroughs.
Calls to several officials involved with the York Area side of the merger seeking clarification on contract details were not immediately returned.
New department details: The York County Regional Police Department will have 60 uniformed officers along with six civilian employees. No jobs are being eliminated as a result of the merger, Northeastern Regional Chief Bryan Rizzo said.
Merger talks started in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the process. Those involved with the merger expect it to be a boon to the communities the new department will serve.
"This merger will benefit our current three municipalities by adding more resources and manpower at our disposal," Rizzo said. "Merging two smaller regional departments will also help us control costs over the long run."
York Area Regional Chief Tim Damon said the departments are "very excited" to move forward with the merger.
"There’s a lot of input and feedback from everyone involved, and this is a cooperative effort between both departments, municipalities and elected officials," Damon said. "It’s a merger, not an acquisition. We are working together in all this."
Naylor said both Northeastern Regional and York Area police are "exemplary" departments that are joining to form an "even greater department." He expects to see nearly all of the new department's officers trained in crisis intervention training and an emphasis on community policing.
Both departments' headquarters — Northeastern Regional's building on Board Road in Mount Wolf and York Area's facility on Oak Street in York Township — will remain staffed after the merger.
Damon will be the York County Regional Police chief, according to Rizzo, who will serve as deputy chief.
Damon and Naylor said more details on the merger will be available this year.