Rural Residents Concerned About Police Protection Fee

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Those without a local police force could soon have to pay for state police coverage.

Governor Tom Wolf announced proposed legislation that would require people living in those areas to pay a protection fee.

Benton Township in Columbia County, like many other small communities, does not have its own police department, leaving the people who live there to rely on state police for protection.

Some are in favor of the fee while others believe it is just another tax on state residents.

Mike Gordon is not in favor of paying an annual fee for protection of his business in Benton Township. We spoke to him outside Benton Beer Barn on Route 487 in Columbia County.

Gordon says police response time has been an ongoing issue with the nearest state police barracks being more than 13 miles away in Bloomsburg.

"I am thinking most of the people in this area. It is not good for them. It is just another tax that I feel will not be used properly. That is how I feel. That is my opinion," Gordon said.

Municipalities have not had to pay for state police coverage, but with more than half of the state relying on troopers for protection, the cost for coverage keeps going up.

State officials have already had to pull money for road projects to pay for state police.

The fee would charge bigger communities without a local police force to pay more than smaller ones. In a place like Benton Township, that's around $8 per person.

"$8 is not a lot of money, but we all pay a lot of taxes, and I feel like they would not spend that money properly anyway, so I feel we should not pay it," Gordon added.

Others believe the proposed bill wouldn't be too bad as long as that means more state troopers on duty.

"The way it is now, sometimes it takes a lot for state police to get where you are sometimes in a rural area, so if they would have more patrols, it would be worth it," said county resident Mike Karns.

10 comments

  • Rusty Knyffe

    Yes, I feel that additional funding is redundant. My “anecdotal evidence” is a tip of the proverbial iceberg in an 18-month investigation by Internal Affairs that was launched by another resident of my County into dereliction of duty of a specific Corporal that was up for retirement.

    And, the staggering welfare costs in this State are out of control and reflects directly upon the whole State budget. It’s no wonder that BILLIONS were diverted from one agency to another. Chew on that, Mr. Greenberg. Don’t shove your member in a hornet’s nest unless you’re willing to take the stings. Your “response” to my comment was to have my views and opinion deleted, entirely, because you didn’t “like” them. This, sir/madame/zir, is what is defined as, “fascism.” Everyone in this Nation is allowed their opinions and views, even if they are unpopular or unpleasant.

  • Bob Stevens

    Wow censoring a comment about being responsible for your own safety and exercising your 2a rights… the boot licking Nazi censor is on a power trip lately.

  • Tracie Stevens Vaughn

    I live in Bushkill. We have no local police. We rely on County Sheriffs, Park Rangers at the Delaware Water Gap, and Staties. Why would we pay for the State police? When we call the authorities, it takes so long to get help that they suspect has more than adequate time to get away. Why do they imagine drug activity is so rampant up here? And I am one of many disabled Veterans, perfectly capable of reading that this is an awful lot like asking for mob activity from law enforcement rather than public service in a civil manner. PA already got caught in an issue of giving PennDOT money to Troopers. What, then, is the problem? It would appear our state troopers need to be investigated, potentially. And Tom Wolf needs to consider all of this carefully because I, for one, will not remain silent in my personal opinions on this while living in a location where so many of the businesses have already gone under and so many empty buildings now serve as eye sores.

  • Carol Marbaker

    The best way for Pennsylvania to be able to afford the State police is for all of the politicians to cut their pay to $15.00 per hour. This hourly rate does not include campaign time. They should only be paid for the time they are in their office doing the job they were elected to do. No expense accounts either. They should have to work for their money like the common person does. If this were to happen,( I highly doubt it will), Pennsylvania would have a surplus of money to do the improvements that need to be done.

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