Christiana police could provide service in Atglen
BY MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY, Correspondent
Christiana Borough Police Department could be leaving Lancaster County on a regular basis as part of a plan being developed for it to provide police coverage to Atglen Borough.
During their meeting on Feb. 27, Christiana Borough Council voted to adopt an agreement to provide police service to neighboring Atglen while also agreeing to advertise an ordinance that would formalize the pact.
Atglen lies just a half-mile from Christiana, across the line in Chester County. The two boroughs each have about 100 miles of roads and a similar population, with Atglen being larger by about 100 residents.
Christiana council president Robin Coffroth said Atglen approached Christiana with the idea of contracting for police services. Until this point, Atglen has been contracting with Parkesburg Borough Police Department.
"Parkesburg Borough was raising the price to where they (Atglen) no longer thought they could do that," Coffroth said. "We came up with an hourly figure, and they accepted that."
The figure is $50 per hour for police services. In addition, Atglen will have to pay for any new equipment that is needed to cover their town, with one of the first items being a police radio that connects to the Chester County system.
Additional police officers will have to be added to the force, which now stands at seven part-time officers plus the police chief. Two new hires are in the works, with more expected. Because of the additional work, the officers will be receiving raises of $1.50 per hour while the chief is slated for a $3 per-hour raise, bringing salaries closer to Chester County levels.
The raises will go into effect only if the department is covering both boroughs. Should the agreement be terminated, the raises would be rescinded.
The agreement would be good for one year with option to extend the contract. There also is a provision that allows either side to dissolve the agreement after 30 days if they feel it is not working out.
One of the biggest things stressed by council members is that the plan will not cost Christiana residents anything.
"It fully covers our police department working in Atglen Borough at no cost to Christiana tax payers whatsoever," borough manager Bud Rettew said, adding that there is a 6 percent profit margin for Christiana built into the hourly rate.
Council Member Glen Kendig voted for the agreement, but said he is skeptical about the costs. Rettew said he is confident of the figures because of the great similarity between the two boroughs.
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"Parkesburg Borough was raising the price to where they (Atglen) no longer thought they could do that. We came up with an hourly figure, and they accepted that."
Christiana Borough Council president