State police taking over crime-fighting duties in West Easton
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 04:30:28 PM CST
Starting Jan. 1, Easton police will be relieved of their crime-fighting duties in the neighboring borough of West Easton.
Easton Mayor Sal Panto said he wants his officers to focus on cleaning up crime in the city, so Pennsylvania State Police troopers with the Belfast barracks will take over responding to calls in the borough.
"Right now, the state police is patrolling Williams Township, and they have a lot more," said Carlos Rodriguez, a West Easton resident. "I think it's ridiculous that they don't work something out.”
Since the early 2000s, the city of Easton has provided police services at a cost to the borough that now stands at $158,000 per year.
Panto said he feels the resources are needed elsewhere.
"The amount of calls we have in that borough have increased," said Panto. "Obviously, I'm here to make Easton clean and safe, not West Easton. If they want to be on their own, then they should start providing their own services.”
West Easton tried to work out a new deal with Wilson for police coverage, but the Wilson Borough Council chose not to enter into contract talks during a January 2013 council meeting.
The only other alternative is for West Easton to create a police force of its own.
"I think it will be good for the borough, but it's going to cost people tax money,” added one resident.
Tax money may be the culprit in the whole situation.
"We don't have the time and money to spend," said Panto. "They are paying us $158,000, $160,000 a year on a $40 million budget, and I just have a problem with our police officers being someplace else when they should be in the city patrolling.”
69 News tried to speak with West Easton Mayor Gerald Gross, but so far has hasn't returned our calls.
Residents told us there's still a plan to have a West Easton police department in 2014.
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