Local police staring down further cuts

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McADOO, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Schuylkill County borough is facing financial trouble. As a way to save money, they are cutting police hours, again.

Eyewitness News brought you the story of the first round of cuts just a month ago. Now the cuts continue.

“How many more hours are you going to cut? I mean, is it a ploy to get rid of the police department?” Claire Perputnik of McAdoo said.

Four weeks after McAdoo halted 24/7 local patrols, the hits keep on coming to the department. But not without a fight. A petition with roughly 300 signatures tried to change their minds, but failed.

“The word got spread around. The mayor knew about it. The council knew about it. We only had signatures so they said it didn’t matter since we couldn’t prove they were from McAdoo,” Shelbey Johnson, who works in McAdoo at Fegley’s, said.

The cuts are a concern for those who work in a 24-hour business. They say they will have more than a 30-minute wait time for a response from state police in Frackville.

“Stealing, people on drugs. We even found meth inside the store that one time,” Jennifer Roslevich, Fegley’s manager, said.

“They’re not thinking about the citizens. They’re not thinking about the businesses in town. I don’t know what they’re doing,” Johnson said.

With a 6-1 vote by borough council, police coverage in McAdoo by local police drops yet another 16 hours. Citizens? Outraged.

“Why don’t you just put in the newspaper ‘All gangsters! All criminals! Come to McAdoo, the town is wide open’,” Perputnik said.

Council’s decision outrages people who live and work there.

“I don’t think with what’s happening in McAdoo it’s the right time to cut police that drastically,” former McAdoo council member Marian DeBalko said.

“I’m appalled that we would even think about cutting police protection,” Albert Lombardo of McAdoo said.

McAdoo Police will be covering 40 hours each week and they’ll be moving to eight-hour shifts to do so. Officials say the money saved will go into infrastructure. But there’s a vocal community who says that’s not what they want.

“Can’t have that in a small town that’s changing every day. We need the local police here,” Johnson said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Mayor Dane Watro and other elected officials who did not return our calls. An important note: the already cash-strapped McAdoo Borough started making cuts before the death of George Floyd.

These cuts and the Defund the Police movement are completely unrelated.

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