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Windber to regain police force
A Somerset county community that purchased police coverage for the past three and a half years will now go it alone by restoring its own force.
At a meeting Tuesday night, Windber borough council unanimously approved reinstating its police department starting January 1.
Windber had paid neighboring Paint Township for police coverage. It was one of six municipalities served by the township force.
Windber officials said Paint Townships on-going financial problems concerned them.
The borough council said it believes it can provide for its own police force without raising taxes.
"If we would've continued with Paint Township, I'm sure there would've been an increase, said Windber borough council member Jim Furmanchik. We think we could do this for less money and we're positive we can do it without affecting the tax payers' pocket book."
For Paint Township the decision means the loss of $350,000, the amount Windber was paying for its coverage.
Paint's police chief says he's still not sure what impact that will have on his department.
"It's going to change the face of the department, I'm sure, said Paint Twp. police chief Rick Skiles. I'm concerned about some employees and that activity, but way too soon to know where that's all going yet."
Windber officials stressed they still want to be included in the study exploring the feasibility of a regional police force. They said they simply couldn't wait until the study findings are released to take action.