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Identity & Community

More And More, State Troopers Picking Up Where Local Police Coverage Leaves Off

Cities, boroughs and townships facing fiscal burdens they can’t dodge are cutting costs where they can.

For 25 municipalities last year, according to the Pennsylvania State Police, that meant dissolving the local police department. State troopers are left to pick up the slack, without a compensating boost in resources.

“If this trend continues, there will be stresses on the organization,” said State Police Acting Commissioner Marcus Brown, adding that since he took office in late January, four more local police agencies dissolved.

“It’s not just a stress on us, obviously,” said Brown. “It’s a stress on the state and the state budget as we do this.”

Democratic Sen. Judy Schwank of Berks County said lawmakers need to think about a solution to relieve some of the pressures on the state police.

“I share that fear that someday, some third-class city is going to say, here’s the keys, you take over the police force,” said Schwank.

Brown says the trend underscores the need to increase his agency’s staffing levels. Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed funding to increase active troopers to the highest level in over a decade.