In order to provide a safe and decent place to live and raise our children, we absolutely must value public safety. Without it, crime grows out of control. I do not believe that we should cut any of our current levels in either the police or fire department at this time. And, if anything, we absolutely need to add police officers. As I have explained in detail on paulrhamill.com and in my response to question #1 in my Record-Argus interview, I do believe we can appropriately staff our police department while meeting all requirements to exit Act 47.
So let me give specifics on how I would improve public safety in our town:
1. The first thing I would do is vote to eliminate the public safety director position and hire a new, qualified chief of police. Our officers deserve to be led by a trained, uniformed officer who's in the trenches with them and who knows how to address our town's growing heroin problem.
2. Second, I would vote to hire at minimum one new full-time officer and one new part-time officer. Those who say we can't afford to do these things are putting political gain ahead of public safety. It is reckless to pad a savings account to look good on paper and deny our town the police protection we clearly want, need, and deserve.
If additional cuts had to be made for some reason, I would vote to put those cuts up for a referendum and let the town decide what they're willing to live without. It's time for our Borough Council to once again represent the will of the people. Elected officials are to take the lead of its citizens, not dictate to them.