Seven Fields Moves Forward with Plans for Regional Police Force
Borough officials OK a request for a feasibility study on a joint police department with Evans City, say it won’t affect ‘good’ relationship with Cranberry.
Seven Fields is moving forward with plans to examine the possibility of a regional police force with Evans City.
At Monday’s council meeting, borough officials gave the green light to a formal request for a feasibility study from the state on the joint department.
Seven Fields manager Tom Smith added he and other borough officials met with Evans City representatives earlier Monday to discuss a regional department.
“The meeting went very, very well,” he said. “We are going to proceed with the potential development of a regional police department between the municipalities.”
The boroughs could become eligible for grant money from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for a regional force once the study is complete, Smith said. He said there is no cost for the study, which would be provided through the Governor's Center for Local Government Services, as state resource for local officials.
Currently, Seven Fields contracts its police services with neighboring Cranberry Township.
However, Smith said the borough could no longer afford to pay a percentage of Cranberry's police budget, especially as the township continues to attract residents and businesses.
Under the terms of the contract—which runs through 2016, with an earlier optional termination date at the end of 2014—Seven Fields, which is made up of about 2,887 residents, pays 7.5 percent of the Cranberry Township police budget. In 2012, that amounted to $337,074. By 2016, it will grow to about $400,000.
Earlier this month, Seven Fields, which Smith said is done growing, asked Cranberry for an early release of the police protection services contract.
Cranberry board of supervisors responded they needed more information on which direction Seven Fields would head for future protection before granting the request. They also expressed concerns of how Seven Fields’ plans for police protection could affect the township.
(For more on Cranberry’s concerns, and the reasoning behind Seven Fields’ request for release, click here)
No matter what happens between Cranberry and Seven Fields on the police services contract, Smith said the neighbors would retain a good relationship. That includes the borough continuing to support the Cranberry Public Library and area athletic associations. On Monday, borough officials approved a $9,930 contribution to the library for services.
“We will always be there for them and I think they feel the same way,” Smith said.
While the Cranberry Township Athletic Association also services Seven Fields, most of the games are played on fields located in Cranberry Township.
On Monday, Seven Fields resident Mike Baer, a CTAA board member, said people concerned the organization’s relationship with Seven Fields would end if the borough ends its police contract with Cranberry already have contacted the association’s administration.
Smith assured Baer this was not the case.
“We’re still going to have a strong relationship between municipalities and we’ll always provide necessary assistance in the future,” he said. “No children are going to be left out.”
Smith recommended borough officials meet again with Evans City to discuss possibilities for a regional department. He also said there would be a meeting in the near future where Seven Fields residents could publicly comment on the police issue.
“Council feels it’s vitally important for Seven Fields to get the public’s input and to explore the potential changes,” he said.
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