'It's dangerous': Colwyn Police Department on verge of collapse, chief says

'We have one officer working per shift,' said Mayor Maurice Clark, Sr.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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There are growing concerns over staffing at the Colwyn Police Department in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

COLWYN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- There are growing concerns over staffing at the Colwyn Police Department in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

According to Acting Police Chief Michael Hale, the department is on the verge of collapse after three officers resigned suddenly due to being overworked with no time off.

"Barely keeping it together, just one officer at a time," said Hale.

Hale says after serious budget cuts that did away with wage increases, pension and medical benefits, he's having a hard time keeping officers who want to work here. Now, he only has one officer on duty at a time in this borough of 2,600 residents.

"No protection. We have one officer working per shift. It's dangerous," said Mayor Maurice Clark, Sr.

The mayor says he's pleaded with Colwyn Borough Council to give him money to hire more officers, but instead, they hired someone from New Jersey to serve as part-time police chief.

"They hired a part-time chief at $65,000 a year," said Mayor Clark.

The move came after Hale asked for a $5 an hour raise for working incredibly long hours acting as supervisor/officer while also answering the door, the phone and radio calls.

"The man asks for $5 more an hour, right? You can't pay him $5 more an hour but you can get a part-time chief and give him $65,000 of our dollars," said resident Sam Zeigler.

"The community was quite clear that they wanted Hale to be the chief, it was like across the board," said resident Charles Manns.

We went to the home of Borough Council President Barbara Williams to get answers, but she told us, through family members, to go to Borough Hall Tuesday morning and speak to the town's lawyer.

Meanwhile, the impasse is making residents nervous.

"If we're not gonna have security, we're not gonna have cops, what do we have?" said resident Angela Johnson.

"You have council out here that does not want to fund the police department. We need our police department," added Annette Roy.

"You look out for the community because the community are the ones that put you there and we're the ones that can take you out," said Zeigler.

The mayor and chief say its a catastrophe waiting to happen. And they say the problem is so bad, other local police departments often do not come in to offer backup assistance when a call comes through.