Policy Committee examines municipal fees for state police coverage
PHILADELPHIA, March 17 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today at Philadelphia City Hall to explore implementing a fee for municipalities to cover the cost of the Pennsylvania State Police providing local police coverage, according to Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.
“For too long, many municipalities throughout Pennsylvania have relied on the State Police to serve as their local police instead of participating in a regional police force or creating their own department while the rest of the state pays for their own local police,” Sturla said. “Last session, the General Assembly and Governor Wolf put a cap on money coming from the Motor License Fund to the State Police because these communities need to start paying their fair share for local police coverage. We also need to make sure the State Police has the dedicated funds needed to perform its public safety duties.
In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of the state’s population live in municipalities with no local, full-time police coverage and 6 percent live in municipalities that have only a part-time police force. The remaining 72 percent pay for their own local full-time police coverage, essentially subsidizing “free” police protection for the rest of the population.
State agency panelists included: Leslie Richards, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; Rick Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Ronald Stern, Local Government Policy Specialist, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Lt. Col. Stephen Bucar, Deputy Commissioner of Staff, Pennsylvania State Police; and Major Patrick Brinkley, Director of the Bureau of Research and Development, Pennsylvania State Police.
Additional testifiers included: Ernie McNeely, Township Manager, Lower Merion Township; Roman Pronczak, Township Manager, Whitpain Township; Bob Latham, Executive Vice President, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors; and Abe Amoros, PA Legislative Director, Laborers’ International Union of North.
Hearing materials are available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.