MANOR – Manor Township Police took another step toward regionalizing their department yesterday.
Crooked Creek Lake Park Resource Manager Glenn Hawkey made the announcement that now Manor would be their official police department for patrolling the Park.
“Crooked Creek Lake has officially signed a law enforcement contract with the Manor Township Police Department as of 11 am today, the 18th of July,” Hawkey said.
Several years ago, Ford City Police negotiated for the contract, but couldn’t do it because they didn’t have the right to make arrests in that area. Hawkey said it was difficult to find a law enforcement department, other than the State Police, that could provide services to the Park that is federal property and encompasses three municipalities.
“The Park itself is primarily in Bethel Township, but we’re also in Manor Township and also Burrell Township. So, the coordination of the three townships was enormous in us being able to get with Manor Township Police Department because (of) jurisdiction. It’s complicated for us because we are in multiple townships and working with multiple municipalities. So, jurisdiction got in the way as far as hiring different, other entities. So, the fact that the supervisors and the officers of Burrell and Bethel – they want the same thing that Chief Petrosky and I want. They want a safer region. They want police presence throughout, so their help was instrumental in us being able to obtain this contract.”
Hawkey said Park Rangers have been patrolling the Park, but do not provide 24-hour coverage. The additional coverage will now be provided by Manor.
“We want our visitors to be as comfortable as possible. We want everyone to be able to utilize this place and a police presence is going to improve the comfort level and the product that we have to offer” Hawkey said.
In May, Manor Police entered into a contract with Bethel and Burrell townships for police protection. To provide protection to the additional municipalities and now the Park, Manor has increased their staff to 14 officers and is considering the purchase of another police cruiser.
Manor Police Chief Eric Petrosky said the concept of a regionalized police department was his goal when he was hired as Manor’s first full-time police chief in January 2017.
“Since I come to the department, my intent is just to have a better community,” Petrosky said. “So, this is part of the plan to get more police in the area to assist, work with the state police, the sheriff’s department, other local departments in the area and now the Park Rangers out here at the (Park).”
To meet the rising costs and logistics of servicing an extended area, Petrosky said he worked with his township supervisors to put together a five-year plan.
“We did a 5-year plan, being prepared for when those steps happen with the finances, replacing the equipment and everything else. We hired new employees. So, we’re taking the appropriate steps and we’re doing it staying under budget for the time being. With the growing with our officers in the area, should help us when we apply for some grants. It shows that we’re a community-oriented police department and that’s our goal. When we apply for grants, hopefully they’ll look at this as an opportunity to help us with our funding.”
Petrosky would not identify other municipalities that may be added into his regional department.
“(We’re going to) concentrate on what we have right now to police it properly and do what we need to do – make a difference in the community,” Petrosky said. “There are other places that talked with us, but for the time being, we’re going to stay where we’re at. And, if that changes, it could change next week or it could be a year from now that it changes.”
The Chief commended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who control Crooked Creek, as well as the three supervisors in each of the townships of Manor, Bethel, and Burrell, for working together for the common good of the community.
“They all want the same thing. They want a safer community. They want to get the bad out of the communities and have good people live in the communities and thrive and prosper,” Petrosky said.
Hawkey said the next major event at Crooked Creek will be on September 16, when the public will be invited to participate in National Public Lands Day. Hawkey and Chief Petrosky guaranteed that you will see Manor on patrol during the event.