Cities, boroughs, and townships across Pennsylvania facing fiscal burdens they can't dodge are cutting costs where they can.
For 25 municipalities last year, according to the Pennsylvania State Police, that meant dissolving the local police department. State troopers are left to pick up the slack, without a compensating boost in resources.
"If this trend continues, there will be stresses on the organization," said State Police Acting Commissioner Marcus Brown, adding that since he took office in late January, four more local police agencies dissolved.
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"It's not just a stress on us, obviously," said Brown. "It's a stress on the state and the state budget as we do this."
Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, said lawmakers need to think about a solution to relieve some of the pressures on the state police.
"I share that fear that some day, some third-class city is going to say, here's the keys, you take over the police force," said Schwank.
The trend underscores the need to increase his agency's staffing levels, Brown said. Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed funding to increase active troopers to the highest level in over a decade.