Pennsylvania communities that utilize the state police may want to rethink their law enforcement methods. Under Senate-passed legislation, municipalities without their own police forces would no longer receive their portion of citation fines. Rather, the money will now go towards funding for the State Police Academy.
Current law requires one-half of revenue from the fine portion of a citation issued by state troopers be sent to the municipality where the violation occurred. Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) voted in favor of the legislation.
"We're trying to raise some revenues from communities that really should be either having their own police force, or creating regional police forces in their counties, or contributing their resources. In this case, the important percentage of this fine would go back to fund new cadet classes," Ferlo said.
The 2012 budget authorized a force of about 4,680 state troopers. Approximately 500 current troopers are eligible for retirement this year.
"The state police need for manpower, and people power, and woman power is of critical importance at this time. The current state police complement is roughly 430 below the authorized and appropriate level necessary to fulfill the duties of our state police," Ferlo said.
Senator Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), sponsor of the bill, said several communities should look into creating police forces. "There are 41 municipalities who have populations of over 5,000 have no police departments, but share in the revenue generated from the police activities of the Pennsylvania State Police," Tartaglione said.
In order for communities to continue to receive their portion of revenue from tickets, they must provide at least 40 hours per week of local police, or be part of a regional police force. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration.