By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police is raising the possibility of closing some barracks, as he wrestles with a reduced number of troopers on his force.
Testifying at Senate budget hearings, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said even with a new class of cadets this summer, the force will still be about 10% below its full complement.
And with a thousand troopers eligible for retirement in the coming year, he told suburban Philadelphia Republican John Rafferty, “It’s going to require us to do some things that are going to be individually sometimes unpopular. We may be thinking of station consolidations, we may be thinking of a number of ways.
Rafferty: “Can I go back? Let’s not talk lawyer-esque or police-esque. Consolidation of stations means closing stations somewhere, and moving other stations together. Am I correct?”
Noonan: “That is not the politically correct way of saying it. Yes.”
Noonan, who declined to be specific, said, “I have not made any decisions, and so I wouldn’t want to highlight any particulars, because I haven’t any decisions. And the way that I foresee doing this, is first we’re doing the consolidated dispatch [centers], and I want to see how that works. And then we’ll be having a class, so this is going to be a progressive thing, depending on the retirements and the needs of the state police.”
He said the first thing he’ll do to get more troopers on the street is to close consolidated dispatch centers in Norristown and Harrisburg.