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Pennsburg Looking to Expand Police with Grant
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Pennsburg Council wants to expand its police department. The residents are demanding it, according to President Diane Stevens.

            Municipal officials hope to utilize a federal grant to hire two full-time officers. One member favors a plan to hire at least one officer even without that money.

"We need our department back," F. Robert Seville said during Tuesday's public meeting.

            The members voted unanimously to apply for a $125,000 COPS grant through the U.S. Department of Justice. The awards will be made public in the fall, according to Joe Adam, chief of the Upper Perk Police Department.

            The grant, which the borough last received in the early 1990s, would be used to cover the salaries for both officers for three years. Acceptance of the grant would require municipal officials to guarantee funding the total salary of both officers for at least the fourth year.

            After the meeting, Stevens said council would be willing to take on that cost, even if it became cost prohibitive. She said its citizens are clamoring for the additional police services, including traffic enforcement.

            During the meeting, Seville said the borough's police department is still coping with issues related to the dissolution of the Upper Perk Police Commission three years ago. He said the goal is to advance the Upper Perk police closer to 24-hour coverage.

            After the meeting, Adam described his department that has four full-time, and two part-time officers on the payroll, as a part-time agency. He said the goal is to make it full time. The chief declined to disclose the percentage of time it is active.

            Seville, who retired from the Upper Perk Police District in April of 2015 after more than 28 years of service, explained that his personal preference would be for the borough to hire an additional full-time officer regardless of the grant application. He said after the meeting that the borough's Civil Service Commission has already started the process of finding potential candidates.

            "I've heard from a lot of residents that we need to hire more police officers," Seville said during the meeting.

            According to Stevens, applying for the grant commits council to nothing. She said after the meeting that if, and when, the grants are awarded, the members could accept or reject the funds for one or two officers.

            In June, the Upper Perk Police Department received 452 calls for service. They responded to 156 incidents for public services, 48 vehicle investigations, 39 traffic details, issued 31 warnings, issued 21 traffic citations, dealt with 10 non-reportable accidents and two reportable accidents, responded to 11 alarm calls, issued three parking tickets or warnings and handed out one non-traffic citation.

            It also handled six incidents each of assault/harassment/stalking and theft, four trespassing incidents and two incidents each of forgery/fraud/identity theft and vandalism/criminal mischief, according to information provided by Adam.  





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