This evening, Mayor Gross spoke about the progress of West Easton implementing its own Police protection. A need for our own police is the result of Easton Mayor Sal Panto refusing to renew the contract that provided Easton police to our borough.
Mayor Gross had praise for those on the Safety Committee, led by Councilman Louis Niko, noting that they’ve met 5 times in about as many weeks to discuss and plan the coming police force.
$165,000 has been budgeted for our own police. This includes not only equipment, but salaries of a Chief of Police and part-time police officers, of which there would be 3 or 4, if West Easton uses the model of other communities in similar size to our own. The cost is fairly close to what West Easton would have paid to the city of Easton, if we were able to renew a contract with them. It was noted that Easton had increased their charge to us by 5% in each of the last 3 years. This past year, the contract cost for the city of Easton to provide police protection to West Easton was $158,000.
Mayor Gross pointed out that West Easton averages 30-35 police incident reports each month and that we are lucky not to have a problem involving serious crime in our community. He also conveyed that State Police would not be a good option. State Police would have a slow response time, would not patrol our community, and would not enforce borough ordinances.
A candidate for the position of, Chief of Police is being considered. While the name wasn’t provided, this person is likely to be selected. The Mayor reported he has approved obtaining a background check on the individual. One of the final steps in their hiring process.
I got the distinct impression that my desire of hiring actress Erica Cerra for the job was dismissed without serious consideration, even though her work history as Deputy Jo Lupo, on the SyFy series Eureka, was exemplary. Thus, my dream of her putting me in handcuffs is now shattered.
The West Easton Council approved the purchase of two Jeep Cherokees (1997 & 2000 models) obtained at auction. The purchase price of $700 and $1000 appears to be reasonable. As former police vehicles they will be placed back in service for West Easton, only requiring the re-installation of emergency lights and radios. It is expected the cost for both vehicles will be around $5000 in total, when all is done.
The Safety Committee will be meeting again on November 21, in order to finalize a complete package that will be presented to the West Easton Council at their December meeting.