Franklin Township in Beaver County is currently without a police chief and only has one full-time officer.
The previous chief, Rudolph Harkins, retired in June and the department has had difficulty hiring officers, according to Franklin Township Supervisors Chair Steve Bailey.
That’s partially why the Board of Supervisors began weighing a proposal to outsource 24/7 police service to nearby New Sewickley Police Department.
At a special board meeting Thursday night, more than 100 community members told township supervisors they’d rather see the Franklin Township Police Department rebuilt than rely on officers from New Sewickley.
“With the consensus of the people here, I’m probably leaning toward trying to rebuild our police department,” Bailey said.
But that won’t come without challenges.
“We’ll be out competing to hire. Just about every police department I know is looking for somebody,” Bailey explained.
The contract with New Sewickley would’ve relied on Marion Township also committing to full-time police coverage from New Sewickley.
Franklin Township’s lone officer would’ve been hired under the proposal, as well as an additional four full-time officers.
However, community members at the special board meeting were passionate about keeping their local police department up and running.
“You have to have police to protect your community,” said Bud Mazzant.
“It is important to get guys who are local, who care about the community, who know the back roads, know the families, and they can disseminate right off the bat when a phone call comes in, the area that they’re in and they’re familiar and nothing’s a surprise,” said Jonathan Peffer.
Supervisors are set to make a final decision on the future of policing in Franklin Township on Nov. 20.
Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.
Local man wins ‘Free Gas 4 Life’ from Sheetz Former Bethel Park police officer pleads guilty to illegally transporting woman into United States Large crowd of parents attend school board meeting amidst rumors surrounding Reserve Primary VIDEO: Man stabbed during fight inside Wilkins Township Shop ‘n Save DOWNLOAD the Channel 11 News app for breaking news alerts