The Westtown Township Supervisors met in front of a backed house on Monday night to discuss the disbandment of the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department. A move township supervisor Charles Barber described as imminent.
“Because of the inability to reach an agreement with the police union and the subsequent loss of Thornbury (Township) as a client, each board must face the reality that the only financial recourse is that the WEGO Regional Police Department will need to disband,” Barber said in a statement he read representing both the township supervisors of Westtown and East Goshen.
Barber continued, “Each township must take the necessary steps to prepare for this event. These steps include taking an affirmative move to disband the police department. Although members of the governing board did not desire this outcome, make no mistake endless opportunities were given to the police union to avoid this result.”
Police Association president Anthony Ruggieri disagreed with the supervisors’ characterization of the union saying that the police association had agreed to a number that was 93 percent of what the township wanted.
“You folks are unreasonable and shame on you,” Ruggieri said. “You failed to mention all that we agreed to give back. We gave you 93 percent, but you asked for 100.”
Resident Richard Pomerantz asked the township supervisors why they were starting the process of disbanding the police department now.
“If the union truly was ready to meet you 92 or 93 percent of the way, why now? What’s the straw that broke the camel’s back?” Pomerantz asked.
Westtown supervisor Tom Haws said that the township’s hands were tied.
“We have a partner in all of this,” Haws said, referring to the East Goshen Township Board of Supervisors. “Both sides worked diligently. We made some final offers that were rejected, and the counter offer that came back was unacceptable to both boards.”
The Westtown supervisors did not vote to disband the police department Monday night, and no timeline was given as to when the process to replace the current department would start.
The current Westtown-East Goshen police contract runs until the end of 2013. If nothing changes, the department would be disbanded at that time.