Poll: Should combating the opioid crisis supersede normal police duties?

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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.– Township supervisors are considering shifting resources of their police department in an attempt to help combat the heroin epidemic.

In the near future, Washington Township is set to assign a full-time officer from its department to the Franklin County Drug Task Force.

Of course, the county’s drug task force investigates both individuals and organizations that may be involved in the trafficking of narcotics and other illegal drugs.

Washington Township’s board of supervisors say that the goal of the shift is to help commit additional resources to the fight against drug overdoses both in Franklin County and Washington Township.

“There’s a staggering number of people having trouble with drugs. That’s why we’re making the change,” said Michael Christopher, Washington Township manager.

However, in order to keep the increased drug patrol in line with Washington Township’s current budget for its police force, the township plans to reduce the number of hours that they have an officer on patrol.

Currently, Washington Township employs 10 full-time officers and two part-time officers to serve a population that serves more than 14,000 people.

Pennsylvania State Police will assist the department in order to maintain a police presence when there is no officer on patrol.

The township plans on making the change in the near future, but have not set a specific date for the switch. However, this program requires finalization by the board of supervisors before i’s enacted, with a vote being held on May 1.

Despite state police helping out the Washington Township Police Department, the force will be stretched thinner as they will be down an officer. Additionally, this shift takes focus away from normal street patrol and crime to focus on the heroin epidemic.

Our question is, should combating the opioid crisis supersede normal police duties?