Policy Committee explores municipal fees for state police coverage
PITTSBURGH, March 27 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today at the University of Pittsburgh to continue its exploration of 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.
“Municipalities throughout the state have relied on the State Police to provide their local coverage free-of-charge and now more than half of the State Police’s budget is going toward this coverage. With the General Assembly and Governor Wolf putting a cap on using the Motor License Fund in last year’s fiscal code, it is important that these municipalities pay their fair share so that the State Police have the funds needed to provide that coverage, without asking the rest of the state to continue to subsidize their policing costs,” Sturla explained.
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.
Testifiers included Dan Cessna, District 11 executive, PennDOT; Marita Kelley, deputy director, Governor’s Center for Local Government Services; Lt. Col. Stephen Bucar, deputy commissioner of staff, Pa. State Police; Joe Kovel, president, Pennsylvania State Troopers Association; Elam Herr, assistant executive director/government affairs, Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors; and a panel from Shaler Township:
Tom McElhone, commissioner, and Tim Rogers, manager.
Hearing materials are available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.