Make sheriff’s department people’s police

January 24, 2013

A Greene County sheriff’s candidate recently spoke of the sheriff’s department doing more within the community or continuing to keep the streets safe for the youth of Greene County.

There are police issues that plague the citizens of Greene County. The influx of vehicles from the oil and gas industry has changed Greene County. Look how vehicle traffic has changed our communities. I bet we all look twice at a red light or stop sign to make sure the big trucks are actually going to stop. This increased traffic has changed everyone’s life. A sheriff’s department with full municipal police powers would be a great way to start to handle these problems.

Imagine sheriff’s substations in such Greene County communities as Carmichaels or Greensboro; a sheriff’s department ready to deliver to the county a police force, no longer dependent on the overused Pennsylvania State Police or contracting out to private police forces; a sheriff’s department ready to be the county’s police force.

The problem is that no other police forces in Pennsylvania want the sheriff to have power again. Only in Allegheny County is the sheriff’s department a full police force. Will Pennsylvania continue to succumb to arcane police policies and not give back municipal police powers to the sheriff?

The average citizen of Pennsylvania has the same arresting power as a sheriff. Is that really what we want from our elected sheriff? Or will we step into a new reality of policing in Pennsylvania and join every other state and make the sheriff’s department the people’s police?

Erik Ketchem


The writer is the son of retiring Greene County Sheriff Richard Ketchem.


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