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The Borough of Jenkintown is considering dissolving its police force — and instead leaning on neighbors such as Abington or Cheltenham for those services.
“The growth in the cost of policing is outpacing the growth in the rest of the borough to try to grow with it,” said Mayor Gabriel Lerman. “We realize that that is not sustainable and something has to change.”
The half-square-mile borough’s law enforcement employs roughly a dozen staff members, including 10 full-time patrol officers, a part-time officer and its chief.
Jenkintown plans to spend a little more than $5 million in 2024. Right now, its residents have the sixth highest municipal taxes and the second highest school taxes in the county, officials said. The municipality of 4,000 residents will dedicate more than 50% of its entire budget to policing.
Lerman said the borough isn’t risking shutting off lights, however, as stewards of taxpayers, officials should look toward improving spending.
“Providing an independent police force is not as efficient nor can it even scale to provide all of the services that neighboring police departments can because they are larger,” Lerman said.