Uncle Irvin: Municipal police moving forward
● By Richard Gaw
According to official spokesman Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick, the discussion about a regional police force in the Kennett area has added Avondale, West Grove Borough and East Marlborough Township to the mix of Kennett Square Borough, Kennett Township, New Garden Township and London Grove Township.
All the municipalities have agreed to the concept and are now engaged in the budget process. Eventually, there will be a final document that the elected officials of each municipality would vote on. The impetus for regional police forces has been initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which has thrown the weight of state government into developing regional police forces.
The local force would be housed in a 10,000-square-foot building and consist of 35 officers, including 25 patrol officers, three detectives, four sergeants, one chief and four administrative personnel. The force would be governed by a five-member Regional Police Commission made up of elected officials. Preliminary annual costs were estimated at $5.3 million, but no discussions have been held on specific funding sources.
Uncle Irvin, a 45-year county resident, fully supports the concept and the need for a regional police force in the heart of the most densely populated part of southern Chester County. Relying on state police from the Avondale Barracks to cover the whole region is not even close to guarantee of a 15-minute response time for emergencies, and it's woefully inadequate to take control of the rampant drug problem.
Unfortunately, the funding would rely on increased property taxes, which nobody wants, until the State Legislature and Governor can create additional funding sources that would not fall 100 percent on property owners. Don't hold your breath!
But a regional police force would benefit all residents, not just the 25 percent who have kids in school.