Bentleyville lays groundwork for new police force

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BENTLEYVILLE – Bentleyville council, as expected, has re-established a borough police department, with plans to have an officer on the beat as early as July 1.


The borough’s contract for patrols with Southwest Regional police department expires June 30, and the deal requires a 30-day notice from either side to end their relationship, Bentleyville solicitor Dennis Makel said.


“There will be no gaps in coverage,” Makel said at a special meeting Wednesday when council unanimously adopted the ordinance creating a police department.


Council has been in negotiations for about a year to hire Beallsville police Chief Richard Young for the new department. Young attended Wednesday’s council meeting and, before it started, said an offer from Bentleyville had not yet been made.


Residents have expressed a desire to have a local department since the borough disbanded its police force eight years ago over financial issues.


The board met in executive session Wednesday night to discuss hiring a police chief.


“Somewhere down the road you hire that person,” Makel said.


The township secretary was assigned Wednesday to begin seeking estimates on the cost of a police cruiser.


“You need a police car, weapons and to outfit the officer,” Makel said.


The ordinance permits the hiring of other officers, whose duties could include assignments at Bentworth School District.


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