Although officials called it “rumors” earlier this week, it appears that East Franklin Township supervisors plan on eliminating their police department.
The Kittanning Paper is in receipt of correspondence signed by all three township supervisors to Sgt. William Evans dated September 8, 2018. It reads in part:
“We, the Supervisors have taken official action at a public meeting to pursue the possibility of entering into an Agreement and/or merging with a neighboring community for police coverage. The Townships have begun to take the appropriate legal steps to pursue this by contacting the State and providing them with the required necessary information that they (the State) have requested. The disbanding of the East Franklin Police Department would enable more coverage to the taxpayers of the Township without being an additional burden on them.”
Currently Sgt. Evans is the only officer in the department. He, by contract, works only on weekdays between the hours of 7AM and 3PM. The Township had previously included the addition of a part-time police officer in their budget as of 2017, but the line item was removed for 2018. At an August 2017 meeting, Supervisor Dan Goldinger said the supervisors were satisfied with the current level of police protection and that any plans for additional police officers were on hold “indefinitely”.
Evans is currently in contract negotiations with the supervisors. Although supervisors acknowledge the need for bargaining, they state in the correspondence that it should be done “in order to affect a smooth transition at the necessary time that the merger and/or Contract of Police Services Agreement is reached with a neighboring municipality.”
With regards to contract duration and wages, supervisors once again stated “The Township does not intend to continue to directly employ its own Police Department… Wages would be set by the Police Department that will be providing Police service to the Township and not East Franklin Township.”
The correspondence at the end of thirteen specific bargaining issues once again states the position of the supervisors:
“The Township position remains as fully stated and explained throughout this written response and will continue towards to the merging and/or contracting of Police services of the Township.”
Secretary Debra Cornman confirmed earlier this week that supervisors of East Franklin and North Buffalo were in discussion, but did not indicate if it was to contract services or merge the departments. North Buffalo also maintains a similar police department as East Franklin.
Cornman also affirmed that any action concerning disbanding the police department was not on the agenda for the meeting tonight, September 27, beginning at 6PM in the municipal building.