The West Chester Public Safety Committee voted to continue the private security patrols that started out as pilot program last March through 2013.
Last March the borough hired ELPS Private Detective Agency to patrol neighborhoods around West Chester University, particularly South Walnut Street, as a way to deter students from getting too rowdy on weekend nights
West Chester University pays for the entire cost of the program.
Several borough officials said they supported the program at Tuesday’s committee meetings, but they said it’s hard to quantify its effectiveness.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said West Chester police chief Scott Bohn. He added that it’s hard to quantify how successful the program is, and that any evidence one-way or the other is mostly circumstantial.
One resident that attended the meeting said that he was originally against the program, but now he’s a huge supporter.
“Unless you live there it’s easy to say it doesn’t have a tangible effect,” the resident said. “But I know for me and my family it helps us feel secure that someone is walking around with a direct line to the police.”
West Chester resident and landlord John O’Connell questioned the effectiveness of the plan and wondered if it was a good use of the University’s money.
“That money comes from the West Chester University Foundation,” O’Connell said. “This is not a using the money for what it was intended for.”
The full borough council will vote next week to put out a Request for Proposal in order to maintain the services of a security firm through 2013.