Falls Approves Study Of Police Staffing Levels A Md. Firm Will Review The Force. Officials Want To Know Whether The Township Needs More Officers.

Posted: November 25, 1996

FALLS — Supervisors have approved an independent review of the Police Department that they hope will tell them whether they need to add officers.

The $32,550 study, approved by the supervisors last week, will review the structure of the department and make recommendations in areas such as community-based policing and patrol deployment. Maryland-based David M. Griffith & Associates will conduct the study.

``It's going to be a good way to evaluate the operation,'' Township Manager Jim Dillon said. ``Are we using resources now for the maximum? What are the ways to address the needs of the community, given our resources?''

Falls, a township of about 35,000, has 45 police officers. The Police Department takes up about $4 million of a $28.4 million budget.

Residents have complained there are not enough police on the beat. The preliminary 1997 budget includes $150,000 for four new officers, but township officials want to make sure they really need that many.

The study will be completed by May and take six weeks, Dillon said, though workers from David M. Griffith will begin holding meetings with township officials starting in mid-December.

A study committee from the township will consist of the police chief, president of the police union, Dillon and possibly the solicitor, a township supervisor and a resident.

The department has been a political hot potato in recent years. Officials have had to deal with a series of lawsuits by police officers against the department and the township.

``I think there is a good relationship going on between all our departments,'' Dillon said. ``There's no lawsuits. . . . We're all working together to see what's best for the community. Everyone seems to be working together. We want to try and maintain that.''

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