Curwensville’s council voted to fire three police officers, leaving only one, who’s temporarily off-duty.
We have more on the town with no police and its financial struggles.
We found the chief meeting with the mayor and a council member today, following Monday’s decision.
“I feel terrible about it. I don’t want to lay anyone off,” says borough councilman David Donahue.
But, that’s exactly what Curwensville’s council is doing. The police cars are all shined up with nowhere to go after they cut a full-time officer and two part-time officers effective this Friday.
That leaves only a 25-year-veteran, Chief David Johnston, who says he’s been on medical leave for a couple weeks and hopes to be back soon.
“We already cut down on the street department by one, and we figured we’d cut the police down by one, and in doing that, we decided to lay the part-time officers off also, because of the contract,” says Donahue.
Donahue says the streets man retired, leaving just two on the crew, and that the council’s action comes amid a police contract re-negotiation.
Donahue says he joined council in January and immediately noticed a numbers issue, partly due to pension costs.
“And without being critical, you can’t spend overspend for five years and try to clean it up in six months. We have a big deficit,” says Donahue.
He says without firing the officers, they would have been about $150,000 short by December. Now, it will be up to state police to cover the borough with more than 2,000 people.
“Well that would be alright if they would do it. I’d imagine they’re sort of busy too,” says resident Robert Rebon.
Rebon says the police department’s always been small, and he’s not too worried.
“I’ve lived here for almost 50 years and never had no problem,” says Rebon.
Donahue says the officers do a good job, but they had no other choice.
“That’s the hand we were dealt, and it’s our job for the citizens to get them out of the hole,” says Donahue.
Donahue says they’re trying to get through the financial hardships, and they’re not sure if they will ever add any of the staff back.