Middletown mulls option of regional police force

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Middletown Borough Council on Wednesday night discussed a plan to join a new regional police force.

The plan has been in the works for three years.

Dauphin County Commissioners say the county could save millions of dollars if police departments shared equipment and training and scaled back on overtime.

Council President Benjamin Kapenstein says they opened preliminary talks with Lower Swatara about the possibility of merging services.

Kapenstein said they are staring at a police budget of nearly $2.5 million in 2017, and those numbers will continue to rise with the increases in pensions and health insurance.

Diana McGlone represents the third ward. She says the council should focus on other issues in the borough before focusing on merging police services.

“Once we get a grip on our economic objectives, then I think it would be a better time to have open discussions about regionalizing our police department,” McGlone said.

Acting police Chief George Mouchette says his department consists of 10 full-time officers and six part-time officers. He says they continue to serve the community, but the merger talks have created some concerns.

“My officers are afraid and not sure what will happen in the future,” Mouchette said. “They are not sure if they are going to be stable or will they lose their jobs.”

Kapenstein says the council will have further discussions to determine if they will cease talks with Lower Swatara Township, continue fact-finding efforts, or wait to get more input from the public at the next Council meeting.

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