West Hanover Township mulls formation of new police department

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – West Hanover Township hosted a public discussion Wednesday night about forming a police department to provide service to a community that continues to grow.

Currently, Pennsylvania State Police provide service to the area.

Troopers can enforce state law but not township ordinances.

Township manager Dan Rosario says they are at the beginning of the exploration phase.

“We just want to hear from the public,” Rosario said. “We invited a panel of experts to address questions that our residents have.”

Supporters say having a police department gives the township a much-needed presence and it could improve response times, even though a state police barracks is nearby.

Sonia Zimmerman has lived in the township for more than a decade. She says a new police department would have an impact.

“We have had issues in this neighborhood,” Zimmerman said. “Having a township police department would decrease criminal activity.”

Township officials are looking at a $25 state taxation for residents in West Hanover Township to help pay for a police department.

Paul Cornell, the East Hanover Township manager, has worked with other municipalities in the state that have tried to start police departments. He says the tax would increase dramatically.

“We are talking about $116 dollars per resident to start,” Cornell said. “Then it would go down to $103 and would escalate every year thereafter.”

Cornell says it is important to factor in salary increases, rising costs of health insurance and pensions, along with police equipment and training.

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