The following update was first communicated in a letter to all East Pittsburgh residents:
We are writing to all Borough residents to confirm that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will assume full-time police services for East Pittsburgh Borough as of this Saturday, Dec. 1.
As first announced during the August council meeting, we are facing challenges which have made it difficult to continue to maintain our police department. As a small municipality with limited resources, most officers work part-time for $15.60 per hour without benefits. Most of the police officers we’ve hired in recent years have moved on to larger departments. We can no longer compete with larger police agencies offering full-time work with higher pay and benefits.
As a result, our police force has become smaller. We no longer have enough officers on staff to maintain a full schedule, forcing the chief and remaining officers to put in long hours of overtime. We are grateful to those officers who have continued to serve the Borough despite these challenges. But to continue operating like this would not be in the best interests of the officers or our community as a whole.
For months, we’ve studied the feasibility of different options for maintaining a steady police force:
- Since July, we’ve participated in discussions and meetings with Allegheny County officials about the possibility of the County providing police coverage. In these talks, we learned this arrangement would cost roughly two to three times the amount we have budgeted to run our own police department. Even if it were financially feasible, the County does not have enough staffing to police our Borough at this
- Since August, we’ve also been talking with neighboring Our initial goal was to merge with a larger municipality that employs full-time officers, but such an arrangement would require intense planning as well as majority support from that municipality’s elected officials. These talks are still ongoing but have been slow moving.
- We have also kept in close contact with our State and County government officials for guidance, assistance and support.
We began discussions with PSP officials in September, after it became evident that other potential solutions would not be attainable in the immediate future. The PSP has extensive experience providing police services to local municipalities throughout the state. Of the more than 2,500 municipalities in Pennsylvania, about half depend fully on the State for police. We formally requested the PSP to provide full-time police services two weeks ago, in a letter sent on Nov. 13.
In addition to the PSP, East Pittsburgh may also receive backup coverage from other police agencies when needed, as may be requested by the PSP.
Looking forward, it is our hope that this immediate solution will be temporary. Knowing many municipalities in the area share some of our same challenges, we are continuing to explore a regional police force. Working with the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments and state representatives, we’ve invited more than a dozen other local municipalities to begin discussions in early December.
We are hopeful that these steps will lead to the establishment of a strong police force well into the future.
In case of emergency, continue to dial 911
The process to call the police in the event of an emergency will remain the same. Effective Dec. 1, the PSP will respond to East Pittsburgh’s 911 calls.
- With any questions or concerns, residents may call the Borough office at 412-823-7124. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
- We also encourage residents to attend East Pittsburgh’s council meetings. Unless otherwise advertised, they take place at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at 700 Grandview Ave.
East Pittsburgh Borough Officials