EAST BUFFALO TOWNSHIP — Partners the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department (BVRPD) took a step Monday night toward resolving one of the thorniest issues between them.
Representatives of East Buffalo Township (EBT) and Lewisburg Borough discussed weaknesses in the current system of accounting for service allocation. The topic arose at joint talks during a discussion of monthly reporting by the chief.
Though formal rewriting of the related financial portion of their intergovernmental agreement (IGA) was not undertaken, partners agreed the measurement of services could be improved.
Supervisor Char Gray of EBT said current measurements of police protection units (PPU) required the chief and officers to track and report time spent in each municipality.
“My thought was that we are going to try and simplify things and not have the tracking,” Gray said. “We have heard from the police that it is time-consuming and not particularly accurate. The guys are trying to remember what they did in 15-minute increments often at the end of the day. I am wondering what purpose it would serve and if it is worth the effort.”
Jordi Comas of Lewisburg said when the work group gets to cost allocation, there would be room for multiple ways to think about how resources are used. He agreed that the current system was not great but where officers spend their time should not be the dominant part of the discussion.
Comas projected a scenario such as a criminal enterprise or deep community need which shifts allocation of resources. He said the department should be free to respond aided by strategic planning.
“One of the problems of the PPUs is establishing ‘this is where you have to be’ a percentage of the time,” added Stacey Kifolo, representing EBT. “We want the police to know where to go and go when they have to go and be where they need to be without looking at their watch and saying, ‘Wait a minute, I need to go over here.’ It puts too much stress on things that don’t matter.”
The discussion of the IGA between the municipalities was part of an EBT public work session.
It was the third face-to-face discussion about revising the IGA which formed the regional police department. Interpretation of the agreement as it pertains to service allocation and funding has been central to the rift between partners.
The next joint meeting was planned for 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 1 online.