Police regionalization talks stall borough actions

MONTGOMERY — As a public meeting to discuss police regionalization approaches, Montgomery Borough council made several changes to their force and held funding on others.

Muncy Borough, Muncy Creek and Clinton and Brady township officials are expected to attend the meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Montgomery Borough Offices, 35 S. Main St.

With talks of regionalization looming, Angelia Adams, secretary and treasurer, said the transition is causing confusion in terms of developing a 2020 budget.

“We are in October and we haven’t done anything with body cameras,” she said. “I’m just wondering — do we really want to spend the money to do the storage and all that stuff?”

The police department also has two vehicles approaching 100,000 miles, which is close to retirement. The borough had planned on purchasing a new police car, however that too is thrown into question.

Bradford Township, which Montgomery Borough provides coverage for, had asked to see the police budget by Friday.

The council agreed to plan a meeting to solely focus on the budget.

In other police business, Mayor Sean Leet presented a new police policy manual which includes updates, changes and additions.

“I would like to see that put into play with our officers,” he said of the new 145-paged manual.

“It does have a lot of new horizons in it, such as body cams — things that we are going to hopefully be using in the future,” he said.

Though Solicitor Robert E. Benion reviewed the body camera addition, he did not yet review the rest of the manual at the time of the meeting. Once that is finished he will send it to the police commission to review, which will forward it to the borough council for final approval.

Lastly, the borough promoted Eric Winters, a police officer for the borough, to corporal. Voting yes were Dale Brendle, Fae Herb, and Shawn Coles; Susan Andrews and Amber Wilt abstained; and L. Whitlow Wertz was absent.

In other business, the borough received a federal grant for $65,000 — less than expected — to replace airbags in an ambulance and fire trucks. Estimated to be $11,000 per airbag, the amount would only cover about five bags.

Montgomery and Williamsport officials scheduled a meeting with Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, to discuss ways of increasing the awarded amount.