Tough police calls coming for leaders of borough, township

Porter Township leaders have decided they no longer can afford police coverage from the nearby Jersey Shore police department.

The borough spent $528,000 on police coverage this year, with $227,000 of those costs paid for by Porter Township.

With that decision, Porter Township is losing local surveillance from police.

And Jersey Shore borough leaders have a decision to make. They either fill a huge budget hole for police expenses or they cut back on the size of the police department.

Both avenues are painful.

In an age when we are calling more and more for the necessary joining of boroughs and townships in order to provide vital services, the police dilemma for Jersey Shore and Porter Township is a discouraging one.

But it points to an issue of fairness that needs to be addressed at the state level.

Municipal leaders have every right to make the tough call about whether they want local police protection or not and whether it’s affordable or not. But if they choose to lean exclusively on state police protection, they should have to pay something for it. The $25 per person fee pushed in the state Legislature earlier this year seems like a logical, fair expectation.

In the meantime, residents in Porter Township and Jersey Shore need to give their leaders some guidance.

Which way do Jersey Shore residents lean? Are they comfortable with the additional costs and possible tax hike to maintain their borough police force size?

Or, are they ready for less police protection that comes with personnel cutbacks due to expenses? Are Porter Township residents comfortable with leaning exclusively on state police for protection in their larger rural area?

When it comes to police protection anymore, there are no easy decisions, for residents or municipal leaders.