A total of just seven police officers, only three of whom are full-time, currently patrol the streets of four Allegheny County boroughs. But officials in Braddock, East Pittsburgh, North Braddock and Rankin say they want to combine their forces into one regional police department.
At a Monday afternoon press conference, Braddock Mayor Chardae Jones said the move could save each municipality $10,000 dollars a year. But the new force would still answer to local officials.
“It would be a commission that was overseeing this police entity,” Jones said. “Of course, our hope is at least the mayor and a councilperson from each borough would be on this commission.”
Currently East Pittsburgh does not have a police department, and uses state police. The borough dissolved its department after the 2018 shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Antwon Rose at the hands of an East Pittsburgh police officer.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the county supports the consolidation — although the county did not agree to patrol East Pittsburgh streets after its department was shut down.
“This is about four municipalities coming together to form their own regional police force,” he said. “We can be supportive with some detectives and other things… but in essence, we’re supportive of what they’re doing in concept.”
The borough councils of Braddock and North Braddock are slated to have a public hearing and vote on the proposal tomorrow. Officials expect the other communities to follow suit later.