Proposal to pay city police recruit costs worth pursuing

Like most cities, Williamsport is challenged not only to pay for an adequate number of police officers, but also to find and attract replacements quickly when vacancies occur.

One of the big stumbling blocks is that the state no longer reimburses the city for the costs of policemen obtaining certification to be hired. That reimbursement was taken away during the Rendell administration.

But making potential policemen pay for their own certification costs is unrealistic and may keep some from seeking the certification.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana wants to encourage more city police recruits by paying for their tuition at a police academy with taxpayer money reserved for police salaries.

Police trainees would receive a salary of $10.38 an hour and help with lodging costs during the 20-week academy to obtain police certification.

The reasoning is that this would be a good recruiting tool for getting police officers. With several retirements in the city pipeline, it’s vital that the city is a viable contender for new city police recruits.

We wish this could be taken a step further and there could be some commitment from the recruits before they graduate from the academy on the city’s dime.

But the idea is a viable one with, of course, the cautionary note that money is always an issue in any city proposal such as this.