By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
SLIPPERY ROCK —
Slippery Rock council members recently approved a four-year contract with the borough's police department and had some back-and-forth about assisting other law enforcement agencies outside the municipality.
Council on July 3 unanimously approved the collective bargaining agreement with the Slippery Rock Borough Police Association, the most notable part of which is a wage increase, said Neva Stanger, borough solicitor.
Council members Bob Bowser and Itzi Meztli were absent.
Borough Administrator Lucinda Lipko later said negotiations started last year and the contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2015.
It covers three full-time officers, who already approved the contract. A message seeking comment from the police department wasn't returned.
Raises are built into each year of the contract, Lipko said: 2 percent this year and 2013 and 2.5 percent in 2014 and 2015.
Council then discussed the police department, which includes two part-timers, assisting other law enforcement agencies, with council member Ron Steele saying there's a misconception that Slippery Rock is using its own money to patrol other municipalities.
"The origin of this whole thing is giving away police services," Stanger said of the agenda item listed as "assisting other police departments outside the borough."
Council danced around the issue a bit because some of it involves a confidential, personnel matter that can't be discussed in public, but Steele said there's been "trouble" in the past with the borough's mutual aid agreements with other towns for police assistance.
Council should change the mutual aid resolution to say a law enforcement agent must be on the scene of an incident before asking Slippery Rock to assist, he said.
The resolution already says that but defines "law enforcement" as a Pennsylvania State Police trooper, Lipko said, with Mayor Ken Harris adding maybe it's time to change that to include other authority figures like firefighters.
But it needs to go both ways and be an "exchange of services," meaning Slippery Rock can request assistance from other municipalities if needed, Stanger said.
Slippery Rock would be providing service to an individual, regardless of their location, not providing service to another municipality, council member Jerry Heller said.
"It's what our guys want to do," Harris said of the borough's officers wanting to help in an emergency no matter the location.
Council member Royce Lorentz said they need a clear definition of who can request assistance, using constables and sheriffs as examples.
Stanger agreed they need to define the scope of people who can ask Slippery Rock police for help and said she'll prepare an amendment to the resolution for council's consideration.
Published July 14, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.