DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. --- A Facebook post published Tuesday afternoon is causing a stir in Middletown.
The post, published on the Middletown Borough Police Officers Association's page, which says it is a union "bargaining unit representing Middletown officers," said it "received word" that the topic of "contracting services has resurfaced."
The post went on to express concerns that the current police force would be disbanded in favor of a neighboring department or State Police coverage.
Craig McGowan, labor services specialist with the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, was in attendance during the borough council meeting Tuesday night.
“We put out on the Facebook because this happened a few years ago, almost the exact same thing happened, and the community came out and railed behind this police department and showed their support for these local guys that are out here every day serving them," said McGowan.
He said the topic is causing unease because they don't know what's going on with the situation.
“These guys are going out here every day, working for this community, putting their lives on the line and they don’t know if they’re going to have a job the next day," said McGowan.
Mayor Jim Curry said the post on Facebook was "ill-timed and misinformed."
“Neither myself or any council members have ever mentioned the word disbandment, we’ve never mentioned the word State Police, nor do I or the borough council support bringing in the State Police to police Middletown. It’s not going to happen and that’s why I took issue with the post," said Curry.
Curry explained that he is "always open" to hearing potential deals as long as they meet what he calls his "three pillars:"
1. Job security for Middletown police officers
2. An equal or better level of service
3. Saves money for the borough
However, Curry said no such deal or discussion for changes are on the table.
“I cannot do any deal without the police. It’s that simple. So this Facebook post about disbandment, your level of service is going to drop, State Police are coming in; In my opinion, that was an attempt to drum up emotion and I think it was inappropriate," said Curry.
Curry said a previous borough council wanted to disband the Middletown Police Department in favor of State Police.
Curry said he, alongside several other council members at the time, opposed the idea.
He said if there were ever a deal worth discussing, it would include input from the public and the police department.
The Middletown Police Department remains under an interim chief.
Nearly a year ago, Chief George Mouchette was accused of several crimes, including attempted rape.
Curry said he remains under suspension without pay and there is no update on the chief position.