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Borough, township discuss police study

July 01, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Officials talked about it a few years back and nothing came of it.

Now, they again are discussing the possibility of merging the Waynesboro and Washington Township police departments. But this time, they're enlisting some technical help from the state.

It was still hard to tell Wednesday night just how serious the Waynesboro Borough Council and Washington Township Supervisors, at respective meetings, are about making one large police department out of two smaller ones.

Both boards are sending letters to the Governor's Center for Local Government Services asking for assistance on setting up a study on a possible merger.

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State officials said they were willing to meet with representatives of both local governments, but they needed letters of intent from both "to show that we're interested," Waynesboro Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger II said.

"We're serious, or seriously curious," he quipped.

Waynesboro Councilman Harold Mumma said the borough is willing to look into the possibility of combining the departments.

"There are a lot of questions, like how the money would be appropriated, by population or square miles, and where a combined police department would be housed," he said.

There has been some thought to putting a department in the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory on Pa. 316 in the borough, Mumma said.

"It would be very expensive to renovate that building," he said. "There's a lot of asbestos in it."

Hamberger said borough and township officials met in Harrisburg, Pa., with National Guard and General Services Administration officials along with two area legislatures on the borough assuming control of the armory building.

Members of both local governments met in June to discuss a possible merger, Mumma said.

"A lot of things can come up, but we've all agreed to pursue it," he said.

The Waynesboro Police Department's full complement is 20 officers plus a school resource officer, Chief Mark King said. He said the agency is down two full-time officers. It also has three who work part time, he said.

The Washington Township Police Department has 16 full-time officers and two who serve part time.

None of the township supervisors and borough council members or their respective administrators could list the amount of their respective police budgets when asked Wednesday.

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