Shenango PD looking to leave regional agency

FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) — The city of Farrell already is in financial distress.

Now comes word that a neighboring community is looking to break away from the Southwest Regional Police Department, which could leave a $500,000 hole in the city’s budget.

At a meeting Thursday night, Shenango Township supervisors approved a measure to begin advertising for a police chief to form their own police department.

Shenango Township Supervisor David Garrett said it has nothing to do with service, but it is all about finances. He said the cost to pay for police protection was expected to go up next year.

Based on a study, Shenango officials believe it will be cheaper to go out on their own. Shenango currently pays $512,000. Farrell pays $1.2 million.

Wheatland and West Middlesex’s share of the pie combined is a little more than half of what Shenango pays. 

Farrell Mayor Olive Brown-McKeithan said city officials are disappointed, but hope to continue with Wheatland and West Middlesex as partners.

“We are hoping the police union will make some concession that would help us because being an Act 47 distressed community, we do not want to raise taxes on our citizens,” Brown-McKeithan said.

Farrell city leaders said if and when Shenango leaves, it could result in the layoff of up to six people in the police department. They hope those laid off will find work with Shenango.

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