Mt. Jewett OKs additional police services

MT. JEWETT -- More police services are coming to Mt. Jewett.Acting at its meeting Monday, the Mt. Jewett Borough Council voted 4-0 to authorize Police Officer Matt Guthrie to work up to 16 hours for the borough every two weeks.Guthrie, who is a police officer in Bradford, will assist Mt. Jewett Police Officer Steve Hale. Council previously agreed to give Hale full-time status as the borough police officer. Hale now is authorized to work up to 40 hours a week. Hale also works on a part-time basis in Kane.Council President Chuck Paar joined with Councilmen Chip Lannen, Wil Antrim and Don Martyna to authorize the extra police help on what is described as "a temporary basis." Councilwoman Linda Berry and Councilmen Brett Morgan and John Keesee did not attend the meeting.Before council granted Hale full-time status as the borough's police officer, Hale and Guthrie combined were authorized to work only 30 hours per week.In related business, council gave the go-ahead to Mt. Jewett Mayor Robin LeViere and Hale to discuss the creation of a regional police force with Hamlin and Sergeant townships.The two townships now rely solely on State Police for police protection.If the Mt. Jewett police department is "regionalized," Hale said "we'd have to go bigger" and add more officers.Dan Hartle, a Bradford attorney who serves as the borough solicitor, said there are "several" legal hurdles to clear to form a regional police force for Mt. Jewett and the two adjacent townships."But it can be done," he told council.Costs and municipal expenditures for a regional police department were not discussed Monday.In his report to council, Hale said the Mt. Jewett Police Department "needs to acquire at least" two officers on a part-time basis for events such as the Swedish Festival."It would also be helpful to have an officer as needed to do some special enforcements," Hale said in his report.Paar asked Hale to contact "people you know" who already are certified police officers and may be interested in part-time duty in Mt. Jewett.In other business at the 58-minute meeting at the garage in the borough building on Center Street, council:*Received notice that employee health insurance premiums are scheduled to increase by 39.9 percent in June.See full article by purchasing the April 3 edition of The Kane Republican.