No Police Force, No Police Bills

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Many communities that rely on state police for coverage don't have enough people to support and maintain a local police department, but two area townships that are among the largest and wealthiest in our area simply choose not to have their own departments.

Loyalsock and Hazle Townships have a police budget of zero. And people in neighboring communities say because the townships use the state police to enforce the law, taxpayers foot the bill.

Loyalsock Township in Lycoming County is the ninth largest community in our region. It's a growing retail center that borders the city of Williamsport.

"Our crime rate is not high, so we're not looking to add a police force or do anything different than what we've done the last hundred years," said township supervisor Mark Sortman.

Hazle Township is the 20th largest municipality in the region but it has no police department, despite wealth generated by two busy industrial parks.

"They don't only employ people from Hazle Township, they create a lot of jobs for the entire area," said township supervisor Jim Montone.

John Turner is a retired businessman who works with numbers.

"Not only are they not paying their fair share, but they're putting an unnecessary burden on the state police," Turner said.

Turner says his property taxes help pay for local police protection from Kingston Township, but his state taxes fund the state police that provides protection for communities that can but don't have local police.

State figures show the average cost for local departments in our area is around $106 per person.

That $106 is exactly what people in Kingston Township pay for their police protection. That's a lot less than what people in larger cities pay for.

Records from the state Department of Economic Development show it costs Scranton residents $300 per person for police protection. It's $260 per resident in Williamsport.

In less populated areas, police coverage in Shamokin costs $230 per resident, $201 in Pittston, and $200 in Honesdale.

That number is zero in Hazle and Loyalsock Townships.

"Why pay for what one can get free? And no one is forcing them to do it," said Turner.

"You know, I hear that rich uncle stuff all the time," said Montone.

In the coming years, Hazle Township supervisor Jim Montone predicts his community may consider joining a regional police department made up of communities in southern Luzerne County.

Loyalsock Township supervisor Mark Sortman says there will be no police department in Loyalsock as long as the crime rate stays low.

"We don't feel like we get the additional value to the cost to our residents," Sortman said.

Governor Wolf has proposed communities that rely on state police for coverage pay $25 per resident to cover some of the cost of police protection.

That is far less than the $106 per person that the average police department costs to run and maintain in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.


  • Chief Wiggum

    Was this article written by a municipal police academy?

    Where do you think the State Police gets it’s funding from?
    The state’s taxpayers do no pay anything towords the State Police?
    People living in jurisdicitions with no municipal police pay no state taxes?

    Have some news for you, State Police work in areas with municipal police departments too!

  • Real American

    Ammon up, and train hard. Don’t trust the government to protect you and your family and property… The first responder to you is yourself.

  • T.hat H.apless U.rban

    No cops in the neighborhood? Sheeetttt that sounds good to meh! More opportunity to acquire.

  • tired old guy

    The article ends with the comment that Wolf proposed the ridiculous amount of $25.00 per person which no one in the legislative branch took seriously when the budget was considered as the PSP Commissioner himself testified that the actual cost per person for areas that use the PSP is $246.00 per person. PSP also do not enforce local ordinances or quality of life issues so good luck with those complaints. Hard to believe Wolf actually ran a business, I mean if your going to charge for coverage at least charge what it costs but then that is the typical Democratic response to a budget problem that is to grow the problem, throw more money at it and hope it gets better. The agency already has over a billion dollar budget and is always looking for more and other commentators are exactly right people who pay for their own police coverage and also for the freeloading communities are paying twice once for themselves and once for the freeloaders.

  • Jeff Woehrle

    When seconds count, the police (state or local) are just minutes away.

    Be able and willing to defend yourself.

  • Debra Eck

    I live in Mifflin Township Lycoming County, Salladasburg Pa area. We do not have a local police force that we can call when we need help. No offense to PSP as they do the best they can with what they are given. They have my full support every day.
    As for myself and the people near me, we are served by the PSP but let me tell you what God forbid if we ever need one in a hurry we are SOL as the nearest road that PSP “MIGHT” be near is about 6 miles away and PSP is in no way close enough in a real emergency to matter. If someone is trying to break into my home, they would be inside. we would all be dead and the person would be long gone by the time PSP got here.
    It is for that reason that I own firearms and know how to use them to protect myself and my family.
    Please tell me why I should be force to pay for police protection that wouldn’t get here in time to actually be useful.
    Perhaps @Governor Wolfe would like to enlighten me on this?

  • Ric Underhill

    Wait until Wolf and the PSP start charging or denying aid to these places. Now that we know where the crime is low, we can bet the “BAD” guys know also.

    Just remember, a PSP trooper with 3 years of experience and some O.T. which is usually mandatory still makes over $100K a year. So they can make the same in a rich burg or a rough ville.

    • Kraven Morehead

      That statistic is blatantly false. There are plenty of ways to look up the salaries of Troopers and they make nowhere near that with 3 years experience. The more you know…

    • tired old guy

      On top of all that they have not even addressed the state pensions that are due and needs to be funded. We are all going to be paying for that.

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