Regional Police Favored By Some In Neshaminy It's Seen As A Financial Solution In Boroughs Such As Penndel. A Question: Who Would Be In Charge?

Posted: December 15, 1996

PENNDEL — The borough is in a police bind, and officials are hoping its neighbors can help.

Because of budget constraints, Penndel has reduced its police patrol hours. Some officials want to solve the patrol gap by creating a regional police department made up of the four boroughs in the Neshaminy area: Penndel, Langhorne, Langhorne Manor and Hulmeville.

While many support the idea of regional policing, politics may prevent a Neshaminy police force.

Penndel gave new life to the idea of regional policing early this month when council approved a budget that reduced police hours. Officials said the eight-member force would be on patrol 45 fewer hours a week, with no one on duty about six hours a day. It would take $31,000 to restore around-the-clock patrols.

Mayors from the four Bucks County boroughs met Dec. 4 to discuss a police department serving all the municipalities, but many officials remain skeptical about a regional force.

``The problem is, everyone wants to run the show,'' said Ira Rombeger 3d, president of Hulmeville Borough Council. ``No one wants to give up their independence.''

Langhorne Manor Mayor Frank Thompson said the boroughs already cooperated to a degree.

``I would not be opposed to regional coverage,'' he said. ``I would like to see all of us have 24-hour coverage.''

Said Langhorne Police Chief James McAndrews: ``I'm sure we can come up with a loose-knit plan where maybe at least one officer can go out and cover the four boroughs.''

But Penndel Borough Councilman Roger Sobel said a regional department would never happen.

``The possibility is practically nil,'' he said. ``I've been pushing for this for five years with no luck.''

Hulmeville and Langhorne Manor are afraid to spend the money, he said.

Langhorne's department is new, he added, and that borough hasn't hit the financial skids with its department.

And individual mayors and chiefs don't want to give up their authority, he said.

Sobel said the Police Department is eating up 70 percent of Penndel's budget. Sobel supports regional coverage for several reasons.

``Services would not be duplicated,'' he said. ``Nobody would lose their job, and you would have 24-hour patrols with a minimum of two cars on the street.''

Langhorne Mayor Chris Blaydon said there probably would be some form of cooperation among the boroughs.

``I can see the police doing patrols in boroughs where coverage is light,'' he said. ``In practical matters, if we consolidate, then we're going to have to decide on who stays and who goes.''

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