Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Police department consolidations save money? Character education in PA schools

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 1, 2014 1:28 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, October 2, 2014:

The biggest expense many Pennsylvania municipalities have is their police departments.  That's even though 72% of the state's 986 municipal police departments have 10 or fewer police officers.

So, it's no surprise that almost 1,300 municipalities get full-time police coverage from the Pennsylvania State Police without directly compensating state police.

There are another 34 regional police departments in Pennsylvania.

Under direction from the State House of Representatives, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee recently compiled and released a report on police consolidation.

The report found municipalities may not save that much money from hooking up with a regional police force, but they get better coverage.  It also concluded there's resistance to consolidation from smaller municipalities who don't want to lose their control.

Appearing on Thursday's Smart Talk to put the report into context are Phil Durgin, Executive Director and Patricia Berger, Senior Counsel for the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.

The committee also just released a report on character education (teaches universal values like caring, honesty, fairness, responsibility, and respect for self and others) in the state's schools and we'll address that topic as well.

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Phil Durgin, Patricia Berger

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  • Rich img 2014-10-02 08:34

    There are a lot of small rural and suburban school districts in Pa made up of more than one municipality. Often those districts have all there schools in one location. Seems to me it might be a good idea to consolidate police forces and place them close to the schools - partly resolving last weeks armed teachers discussion.

  • Rich img 2014-10-02 08:38

    There are a lot of small rural and suburban school districts in Pa made up of more than one municipality. Often those districts have all there schools in one location. Seems to me it might be a good idea to consolidate police forces and place them close to the schools - partly resolving last weeks armed teachers discussion.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-10-02 08:41

    Lee From York emails

    If the legislature passed a law requiring each municipality to somehow provide (and pay for) full-time police protection (full-time means the equivalent of 5 full-time officers), it might force small governments to become efficient or go out of business. It would also allocate the cost of police service across the Commonwealth a little more efficiently.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-10-02 08:42

    Ben Emails

    Costs and politics are one thing. Competency, training, keeping up with technology, ... are another. Do small departments keep up?