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Lower Macungie Township considers police department

By Olivia Albright, Assignment Editor / Web Producer, OAlbright@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 12 2013 10:22:15 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 13 2013 05:03:21 AM CST
LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

An extensive police and safety analysis report has left Lower Macungie Township with many questions and several possible outcomes when it comes to the future of a police force.

Dr. Gary Cordner of the Criminal Justice Department at Kutztown University presented his research findings about the status of LMT’s police and safety standards in relation to the state and Lehigh County.

Lower Macungie is the 22nd largest township in Pennsylvania and is one of only two of the largest 37 to rely on the State Police rather than having its own police force.  Only one other township, Hempfield, also relies on the State Police.

Cordner noted that statistics specific to Lower Macungie were difficult to ascertain because the State Police do not differentiate between townships in their crime rates, but that in all likelihood it has very low crime rates.

Cordner offered six final options at the end of his presentation that included maintaining the status quo or creating a Lower Macungie Township Police Department.

Currently, Lower Macungie pays no money for State Police coverage, so starting its own department would be a large expense to take on, though it could mean more control and responsiveness to the township.

Additionally, there is a legislative proposal in Harrisburg that could require townships that rely on the State Police to pay $156 per resident per year. In this case, Lower Macungie Township might have to face some difficult decisions about what options will best suit its residents.

“We wanted to get some basic information in case somewhere down the road something happens, then we have the background information,” said Scott Forbes, the president of the Public Safety Commission in LMT.

The Township Commissioners Board contracted Cordner to research all of the options for LMT. There is no necessary action attached to Cordner’s findings, which will be presented in their final form to the Township Commissioners on December 19th.

If LMT decides to leave the State Police, they will simple reassign their resources elsewhere. LMT’s decision one way or the other has no real effect o the State Police, according to Lt. John Nederostek, the station commander based in Fogelsville.

A decision to create a police force could cost the township seven figures, according to Cordner, but that is specific information that he plans to reveal in detail on December 19th.