Kennett Square officials vote to discontinue formal discussions about regional policing
● By Steven Hoffman
At the recommendation of Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick, Kennett Square Borough Council has voted to discontinue formal discussions about establishing a regional police force.
Kennett Square officials have been collaborating with leaders from New Garden Township, Kennett Township, and several other local municipalities on a study to determine the advantages of moving to a regional police department.
Fetick explained that several of the municipalities have recently decided to opt out because of the costs associated with establishing a regional police force.
Kennett Township has recently decided to bolster its police force, but the municipality does not have the regional policing initiative on the front burner. That leaves only the borough and New Garden Township involved.
Fetick said that at the beginning of the process, the borough needed to see a reduction in policing costs or a significant increase in police services in order to move forward with plans for a regional police department. With the other municipalities opting out, New Garden Township and Kennett Borough would not see significant savings by sharing expenses.
“We walked away from the last meeting realizing that for us and New Garden Township, there would not be savings,” Fetick said. “I do not personally see a path forward as it stands now.”
Fetick recommended discontinuing formal discussions about regional policing, and borough council concurred.
At the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors meeting on July 20, New Garden Police Chief Gerald Simpson provided an update on the on-going discussions to explore the concept of entering the township into the start of a regional policing program.
After more than a year-and-a-half of discussions with several townships and municipalities, Simpson said he was disheartened in the number of townships and municipalities who have backed away from the concept, but vowed to keep the conversation going. He recommended that the township host an upcoming meeting with representatives with all remaining partnering townships and municipalities, to discuss if there is any value in continuing to pursue the concept.
“From my part, I feel that we in New Garden Township have put a lot of work and effort in this, and yes, this is disappointing, but it's at least to a point where we know who's in this and what our options look like moving forward,” Simpson said.