Bentleyville considering a local police department

BENTLEYVILLE – Bentleyville council is in negotiations to establish a local police force eight years after the department was disbanded over financial problems.

The borough is now on “good financial footing,” and would likely save money by hiring one full-time officer and using a part-time staff to fill in the police schedule rather than continuing to contract for crime patrols, Bentleyville Mayor Tom Brown said.

“I would like to have a police department again,” he said Thursday.

The borough currently pays Southwest Regional police $50 an hour to provide police officers in the town for two eight-hour shifts a week, he said.

The decision to disband the department was met with much opposition from local residents.

A borough committee has been discussing a proposal from Beallsville police Chief Richard Young to have him oversee the Bentleyville department. Young would leave his job in Beallsville if he is hired as Bentleyville’s chief, Brown said.

Brown said he expects council will approve the ordinance establishing a police department at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the municipal building at 900 Main St.

The ordinance also creates the position of special school police, and it would be up to borough council to classify and determine the number of subordinate officers to hire, the record shows.

If approved next week the ordinance would take effect immediately.

Scott Beveridge has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1986 after previously working at the Daily Herald in Monongahela. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s fine arts and art education programs and Duquesne University’s master of liberal arts program. He is a 2004 World Affairs journalism fellow.


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