Pike County – The Eastern Pike Regional Police Department has met their goal in reducing response time to urgent 911 calls and saving taxpayer money.
With the economic downturn and increased crime, Eastern Pike Regional Police Chief Chad Stewart believes that regional policing was the best choice for Matamoras and Westfall, which joined forces in 2008.
“As crime increased, many forces have slowed their response times,” said Stewart. “By merging, we’ve ensured that we have a sufficient amount of units to cover multiple emergency calls.”
Stewart said that having one police department cover two neighboring communities allows each municipality to enjoy the benefits of a larger department, such as full-time officers. Full-time officers have more time for investigation, which lead to more arrests such as the successful capture in the recent Matamoras Turkey Hill and Wells Fargo Bank robberies.
“We were able to provide this level of coverage because of our department’s consolidation,” said Stewart. “I recently assigned an officer to work with agents from the FBI to assist with local crimes. With that partnership we were able to make arrests that were connected to several local armed robberies.”
The Department measures part of their success on the reduction of crime. Rather than rely on State Police, whose response time depends on the amount of officers on duty and their location in Pike County.
“Officers are assigned to zones,” said Stewart. “So when a call comes in, we are able to quickly locate, assess and remedy the situation.”
By becoming a regional force, officers were able to teach each other. Stewart says that officers are now better trained and have been divided into units that fit their specialties, such as burglaries and drug related crime. Weekly arrests have increased in the areas of theft and drug possession. The Eastern Pike Region Police Department posts weekly arrests on their Facebook page and is getting ready to launch a new website.
“We solve crimes faster and save money,” said Stewart.
Eastern Pike Regional Police Department has been consistently working toward reducing taxpayer expenses. Since its conception, the department has been able to reduce their budget in a number of areas. Their 2014 proposed vehicle expense budget has decreased by over a thousand dollars compared to vehicle expenditures from 2013. The Eastern Pike Region is made of up 53.82 road miles, six times greater than Milford’s road miles. Although the Eastern Pike Region is larger, its cost per road mile is a third of Milford’s, thereby saving taxpayer dollars.
Stewart also said the coordination of their services has improved.
When the Department first merged in 2008, Westfall saved $95,000 and Matamoras saved $44,000 in comparison to their previous separate police budgets. The merge of the two departments has allowed the force to combine resources, thereby reducing taxes.
Regional police departments provide the opportunity to reduce the cost of police services to taxpayers, put more police officers on patrol, and streamline police services. To residents, regional police departments look and operate much like any other police department; the difference is that regional police departments are more effective and cost efficient.
“We’re making great strides to perfect our budget,” said Stewart.
The expected sources of revenue will balance the proposed 2014 budget, leaving no debt.
For more information on the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department, visit http://www.eprpd.org/ or find them on Facebook.
The mission of The Eastern Pike Regional Police Department is to work in partnership with the residents and businesses of the community to provide a safe and secure environment through impartial police services by preserving the peace, reducing fear and enhancing the quality of life.