Penndel decides to keep its police force

PENNDEL, Pa. (WPVI) -- Penndel, Bucks County has decided to keep its police force.

The decision came early Wednesday morning after much debate, debate that wrapped with the town's mayor declaring that the matter would be dropped - for now.

Penndel is a town with just over 2,300 residents.

It is estimated that about one-tenth of the town's total population showed up for Tuesday night's meeting in a small council room.

It was standing room only.

The council president said more affordable costs and better resources lie with the Middletown Police Department taking over, but residents weren't sold.

The meeting got heated.

"They're trying to merge Penndel Police Department with Middletown, and none of us have any of the facts. We would like to hear both sides of the story," resident Timothy Weaver said.

"We are almost at the cap of how much we can tax our residents, so it's very expensive to fund a police service," said Council President Kali Sodano. "So we don't know how much longer we can keep up with that."

"It changes the atmosphere of the policing. It's personal policing that we have with the community," said Raymond Longhitano of the Penndel Police Department. "They have a larger force," he continued, referring to Middletown Police. "But at the same time, they're not all on at the same time,"

The Penndel Police Department has a full-time chief and 10 officers at a cost of $500,000 per year, or 60 percent of the borough's budget.

Officials say having Middletown take over would only cost residents $300,000 a year and come with more resources.

Retired Middletown police officer and current Penndel resident Lloyd Patton agrees there is a gap in service.

"We pay for 24-hour service, and we don't get what we pay for in our tax dollars," Patton said.

Police and residents said they'll lose much more if they lose their hometown police and the personal relationship they have with the officers who protect their communities.

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