LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The first-ever regional police department in Luzerne County is marking one month patrolling the streets.
The Wyoming Area Regional Police Department covers five communities, all of which had their own police departments for decades.
There have been numerous efforts in Luzerne County over the years in different parts of the county to form a regional police force. For one reason or another, they all failed, so many people are watching this police force very closely to see how it works out.
“It’s going well. The reason I say that confidently is that we are getting great feedback from the community” stated chief D.F. Pace of the Wyoming Area Regional Police Department.
Pace is the police chief of the new Wyoming Area Regional Police Department. He brings 22 years of experience with the Philadelphia Police Department to the table. He now oversees a police force that serves and protects Wyoming, West Wyoming, West Pittston, Exeter, and Exeter Township.
Officers with the new police force hit the streets when the clock struck 12 on January 1. So, how is it going?
“We are meeting the goals that we set for our first month which are increased visibility increased level of professionalism and making sure we have a good handle on investigations. We’re currently in the process of developing a lot of different responsibilities for the officers that we have various duties and responsibilities allocated among the officers, so we are really organizing well,” explained Pace.
Pace tells Eyewitness News that the mission for the officers is simple: deter and solve crimes.
“They’re seeing police cars at a much greater frequency than in the past. Police officers are responding to calls much more quickly than in the past as well,” described Pace.
Joe Scaltz is vice president of the Wyoming Borough Council. He insists that regionalism is the future of police protection.
“As I said, the way things are in today’s society with the lack of manpower, you need everybody you can, and I honestly think may eventually that WARP can expand to other communities and reach out,” said Scaltz.
Wyoming Area Regional Police Department has 16 full-time officers and several part-time officers, according to Chief Pace. This is a work in progress, and he wants to hear from the community about any concerns or questions they might have.