CLEARFIELD – Merchants and business owners have asked for more police in Curwensville.
At Monday’s Curwensville Borough Council meeting, Christina McCracken, a member of the Curwensville Merchant Association, read a letter that had been discussed and approved at a meeting of the association.
The letter said that it is the hope of the association that the borough council will make every effort to maintain a strong police force.
The letter said the citizens and business owners understand the trials facing anyone trying to balance needs versus resources.
The letter said the association realizes the importance of not only having adequate police coverage, but also equipping them with the tools needed to effectively do their job.
The letter said if the goal is to bring people to town, whether to live, work or just to visit, law and order must be maintained.
The letter said the borough needs adequate police to help protect the local assets and that without the security of a staffed and funded police force, the borough will continue to be plagued by an increasing drug problem and what this problem brings.
The letter said the association realizes the challenge the borough faces, as it works to create a balanced budget to provide for a variety of needs and services.
The hope of the association is that the council will make provisions for full-time police coverage and to give the officers adequate resources to protect the community.
Council member Rhonda Carfley asked what prompted the association to write the letter. She said the council is not cutting the police force.
McCracken said the borough only has two police officers who work 40 hours per week. She said that’s only 80 hours total of police coverage.
Carfley said there was no money available to add more officers. She said adding two more full-time police officers would cost the borough about $170,000.
McCracken said even just one additional part-time officer would help. She said the association was not asking for this budget but was asking the borough to begin planning for future years.
“You should be lucky you have two police officers,” Council member Tom Carfley said. “We can’t afford more officers. I don’t know why we’re sitting here arguing about it.”
Council member Robert Moore said there were other communities, some even bigger than Curwensville, that have no local police and rely entirely on the state police.
Council member Harriet Carfley said the council has been looking at “numerous” options, but all of them cost money.
“I agree that we need all the help we can get and we appreciate the letter, but the money just isn’t there,” Harriet Carfley said.
During the monthly report section, Tom Carfley commented that Patrolman Mark Kelly had taken 22 days off in September.
“We have people talking about police coverage, and I turn the page (in his report book) and see one of our officers had 22 days off,” Tom Carfley said.
Mayor John Adams said Kelly was using time he had accrued during the year.
“If anyone else had missed 22 days, they wouldn’t have a job,” Tom Carfley said.
The council asked Adams to speak to Kelly about his time off.