Local police department could be going away

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DUBOISTOWN, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local police department that’s been around since the 1800s could soon be saying goodbye. Council members in Duboistown have been discussing the idea of getting rid of the department in order to help the borough save money.

The idea was presented at the last council meeting where council members discussed the benefits of getting rid of the police department. But the borough wants to clear something up. Residents would still have police coverage. The plan is to basically have South Williamsport Police patrol the area instead.

“We’ll still be separate boroughs. We’ll still have separate mayors and separate councils but from a standpoint of service delivery, we’ll be united,” South Williamsport Borough Manager Steve Capelli said.

This is a prime example of playing together as a team. Duboistown and South Williamsport have been meeting, planning and discussing the possibility of South Williamsport taking on the area’s police department.

“We would dissolve our police department and no longer have a police force here in our office, but we would utilize South Williamsport,” Duboistown Borough Manager Ann Baker said.

Why would Duboistown want to do this? For starters, it’s a way of saving money not only for the borough but also for the taxpayers.

“We’re trying to look at some ways to cut some costs but still service our borough and residents and get everything done we need to,” Baker said.

“Well, first of all, it’s going to be better suited to put them together and I think that’s a good thing for the community. Taxwise it will be a good thing for the community. It’s always great to save money no matter what you do,” Duboistown resident John Zalonis said.

Secondly, South Williamsport has proposed a deal to patrol Duboistown 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This full-time police coverage is something Duboistown can’t do on their own, with one full-time and two part-time officers currently staffed.

“We basically have one street which separates us. It’s a natural extension for our patrols and they would no longer have to rely on state police mutual aid response when they do not have an officer working there. I’m hoping that it advances. I hope the citizens of Duboistown realize what we have to offer,” Capelli said.

Which, it seems like they do.

“I think the more coverage you can get the better it would be for the citizens,” Zalonis said.

Now, this idea is just a proposal. There are still some negotiations that need to be worked out. Duboistown will be holding a public meeting on the 24th to hear from residents on what they think about this new plan.

If Duboistown Council decides to dissolve their police department, the South Williamsport Police force says they will start January 1, 2020.

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