The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 10, 2014

Milton and Watsontown leaders explore regional police idea

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— WATSONTOWN — Leaders in two northern Northumberland County municipalities say they would consider looking into a regionalized police force, but that there are no plans for a joined force yet.

Watsontown councilman Harry Hefty said he’s interested to see what the public’s opinion on a regionalized force would be.

“We’re looking at if there is support for or against,” he said.

However, officials are “just beginning to explore” the idea, though Hefty said he’s “willing to begin to talk about it.”

“I’m open to it,” he said.

Milton borough manager Chuck Beck said Milton is also open to discussing options for a regionalized force, though no official action has taken place.

“It doesn’t hurt to sit down and talk about anything,” Beck said.

However, Beck agreed that discussions are “very preliminary.”

The residents of upper Northumberland County have combined efforts before, such as with the Milton Regional Sewer Authority, which both Beck and Hefty count as a success.

Watsontown, Milton and Delaware, West Chillisquaque, East Chillisquaque and Turbot townships are part of the regional sewer agreement.

However, there are more factors to look into when talking about regionalized police forces, including whether to include neighboring townships, who would most likely see an increase in taxes to cover costs.

“It would be hard to get the townships involved because there’s an additional cost,” Beck said.