Leaders in Dauphin County want to enhance police protection while saving taxpayer dollars. So now a study is underway to determine if consolidating the county’s 17 police departments would benefit the community.
Dauphin County District Attorney, Ed Marsico, is conducting the study to see if police departments can work together as one.
He says, “This study will take a look at those municipalities that have departments and see what they’re spending, what service they get for each dollars made.”
Marsico is leading the study which will examine data to see how a regional police force would improve public safety.
Marsico says, “Having more officers available for patrol out on the street, engage the community, also enable officers to get specialized training that a smaller department might not be able to provide.”
Mark Bentzel is the Chief of the Northern York County Regional Police Department. In 1972, 5 municipalities merged and became the first consolidated force in Pennsylvania.
Chief Bentzel says, “Instead of having to make sure information is put out to 6,8,10,12 police departments, it’s only going to one location which will prevent duplication.”
Bentzel says a merge could also mean challenges. He says, “Personnel fear a loss of status and uncertainty and public perception is they won’t know the police driving down their streets.”
The committee is comprised of 17 members from throughout the county, including law enforcement and local government representatives. Local officials and residents will ultimately decide whether to implement the recommendations in the study.