SHENANDOAH — Officials in Schuylkill County are finding that in one case the economy is helping them provide better police protection.
Shenandoah has two police cruisers that work. An SUV has been sidelined. Shenandoah officials say the four-wheel drive police vehicle is beat. It’s already gone through one transmission, has more than 100,000 miles on it and they add it’s not reliable for emergency response work.
A federal grant will pay half for a new four-wheel drive. Shenandoah Manager Joe Palubinsky said the borough will pay the rest.
“Basically it’s going to provide us with an emergency response vehicle in the winter months and we expect to receive it at that point in time and we can increase our patrols and have rapid response during the winter months,” Palubinsky said.
Tom Williams is with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Williams said one reason for the grant is the economy.
“Because of their high rate of unemployment in this area, they are eligible for a special amount of communities facilities money,” Williams said.
Congressman Tim Holden helped get the grant.
“When you think of the Department of Agriculture, you think of production agriculture which is so important and across the commonwealth,” Rep. Holden said. “We have the opportunity to help rural Pennsylvania, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, to help out the police department.”
People we talked to say another police car will project more of a law enforcement presence. Gordon Slater of Crime Watch said something else is needed.
“The cops are doing the best with what they have, but the community needs to get involved. You see something, report it,” said Slater.
Officials hope to have the new four-wheel drive added to their two-car fleet before the first snow.