Point Township hiring full-time officer
POINT TOWNSHIP – In Northumberland, council has voted to hire part-time officers to give them 24-hour local police coverage, but Point Township is doing things differently. Point Township Police are hiring a 5th full-time officer for their department. Chief of Police Joshua VanKirk explained why he believes a full-time officer is better than part-timers.
VanKirk said, “By the math, you could say if each officer could work this many hours or fill this many shifts a month, we’ve got it nailed. But the reality is, math can’t drive a police car and math can’t do investigations. The math doesn’t work. You have to recognize that these people have full-time jobs that are paying the mortgage and when push comes to shove, the police shift is not going to be filled. They are going to prioritize to their full-time job, which of course is an absolute necessity.”
VanKirk does realize hiring full-time officers can be a financial challenge in local communities. He said, “This is not a problem that is unique to this Valley. Nationwide, communities are struggling to provide essential services. It is a cost to recognize and it takes some creativity to navigate through it and make sure the essential services get delivered.”
VanKirk said the truth is, every community has 24-hour police coverage through assistance from the state police. He says the question becomes, “Who’s providing the coverage…How long is it going to take for the officer to arrive….and what are you willing to pay for rapid response?” You can hear more from Point Township Police Chief Joshua VanKirk from WKOK Sunrise here. (Ali Stevens)