Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.
Nov. 20—TREMONT — Although the borough will be saving money come Jan. 1 by disbanding its police department, citizens of Tremont and neighboring Frailey Township will suffer, according to the department’s two full-time officers.
The department consists of full-time officers Chief Michael Conway and Sgt. John Borchick, as well as part-time officers Shannon Tietsworth and Greg Pijar.
Conway said he and Borchick each put in 40 hours a week patrolling and performing other duties while the part-time officers’ hours varied. However, Conway said borough council members stopped scheduling hours for the part-time officers.
“They haven’t worked in three months,” he said.
Conway said he served as chief for 23 years and is sad to see the department disband. Also going away, he said, is the personal touch that residents have become used to when in need of police assistance.
Although state police troopers will soon provide police protection to Tremont, the same services will not be available. Conway explained that state police have limited manpower and also do not enforce local ordinances.
“They will not do the little things, like answer barking dog complaints, or the basics, like moving vehicles in preparation for parades,” Conway said.
When asked if the council would reconsider its decision to disband the department before Dec. 31, Conway said he does not see that happening.
“They’re (the borough) financially broke,” Conway said. “I think their mind is set.”
Borchick echoed his chief’s comments, saying that not only will residents suffer, but an additional burden will be placed on the state police, who already have a large area to cover with limited manpower.
“We take care of 1,800 people; they take care of 18,000,” he said. “They deal with so much more than we do. … State police troopers have to prioritize their responses because of the large area they cover. The fatal crash will come before the barking dog in Tremont.”
Although Tremont will save money by eliminating a police department, it will lose money from Frailey Township, which pays about $54,000 for 50-hour-per-month coverage by Tremont police.
“They’re saving money and losing money at the same time,” Borchick said.
Frailey officials could not be reached for comment.
State police Sgt. Michael Sadusky, commander of the Schuylkill Haven station, explained that troopers already provide coverage for Tremont when local officers are not on duty and they will continue to do so when the department no longer exists.
“We will just incorporate it into our daily duties,” he said.
Sadusky also said troopers do not enforce local ordinances.
“It’s just crimes and crashes,” he said.
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