SCPD proposed 2022 budget includes addition of two civilian employees


CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – The 2022 budget for the State College Police Department has officially been proposed to borough council and it’s smaller than years passed.

“It’s going down by about 4.7%,” said Chief of Police John Gardner.

He explains that this is due to reductions in the departments pension and healthcare costs.

The proposed budget includes maintaining the departments 60 sworn officers, while also adding two civilian employees.

“We’ve put in the budget for a police social worker position that will help us with calls revolving around mental health issues and maybe some of the homeless issues, but we also have a position for a civilian community relations officer that will work on diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Gardner.

Gardner calls the addition ‘a tremendous opportunity’ for the department and community to move forward, especially after last year when he says many were calling for less police.

“I’ve said all along that our police do a tremendous job, they answer these calls everyday, but we also need help too,” said Gardner.

According to Gardner, the help, would be especially beneficial after certain calls.

“Because that’s where the real work really begins. I know we have officers who have spent countless hours talking with individuals and helping them work through problems and with having a social worker, on staff now, that can now fall to them and free our officers up to take care of other things,” said Gardner. 

While Gardner says he’s hopeful and excited to start out with the two civilian employees, he admits that he’s already hoping to grow that number and program in the future.

“I spent 3 days at a conference in Bloomington Indiana and they have 3 social workers out there. So I picked the brains of the chief and many of his supervisors, and the officers, and the consensus was they wouldn’t want to work without social workers right now. So I’m hoping much the same sentiment overtakes our department and our city as well,” said Gardner.

According to the State College Borough, a public hearing on the budget will be held on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

On Dec. 13 council will decide if it needs any revisions, and Dec. 20 will be the budget’s adoption.

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