Rosslyn Farms police Chief Larry Fischio will be retiring after more than 41 years of service.
By Carole Gilbert Brown
Rosslyn Farms residents will experience a changing of the guard, so to speak, as Scott prepares to take over as the borough's contracted police service Aug. 1.
Following a special public session May 29 in which the police chiefs from Carnegie and Scott made Power Point presentations, Rosslyn Farms council voted unanimously to award a three-year contract to Scott. The cost for 2013 will be $50,000 -- about $4,000 less than Carnegie's bid.
"No matter which way we went, we couldn't go wrong," Rosslyn Farms Mayor Jim Stover said.
He cited department size and call volume as the two deciding factors. Scott has 20 officers and Carnegie has 14, but the latter has a larger call volume.
Scott Police Chief Jim Secreet said his officers are "psyched" to take on Rosslyn Farms -- a 0.6 square-mile residential community of fewer than 200 homes and a population under 500.
"I'm lucky," he said. "I have a good department. All the guys are really proud that another community picked us."
Chief Secreet, a 30-year police veteran who has been Scott's chief for five years, added that he was impressed with the friendliness of the people he met in Rosslyn Farms when he drove around to familiarize himself with the borough.
"Our main goal is to keep it like it is," he said, noting his officers will train with Rosslyn Farms Chief Larry Fischio and that taxpayers in both communities would see some financial benefit from the contracted arrangement.
"I view it as a partnership, and I want to be there forever," Chief Secreet said.
Carnegie Police Chief Jeffrey Harbin, whose department also polices Pennsbury Village, declined comment except to say, "We appreciated the opportunity to make our proposal."
Two factors led Rosslyn Farms officials to consider outsourcing its police department: economics and the upcoming retirement of Chief Fischio, a police veteran of more than 41 years. They believe as much as $150,000 could be saved annually by contracting for police service. The change will leave Rosslyn Farms officer Scott Kercher and four part-time patrolmen without jobs.
Because Rosslyn Farms residents are used to high visibility and one-on-one relationships with their police, Chief Secreet intends to continue that. He said Scott has divided its police patrol routes into three zones and that Rosslyn Farms will be added to Zone 2, which also covers Glendale and East Carnegie neighborhoods. All zones are patrolled around-the-clock.
A specially marked police car for Zone 2 will carry the inscription "Serving the Residents of Scott and Rosslyn Farms."
But his men will mark reports that involve the borough specifically as "Rosslyn Farms" instead of by zone, which is usual practice. Rosslyn Farms typically has about 110 calls annually, many of which are home alarms, he said.
Last week's decision marks the conclusion of many months of public discussion about how to handle the borough's policing needs. Besides Carnegie and Scott, Crafton, Heidelberg and Robinson submitted proposals for the police contract.
In April, Rosslyn Farms council voted to disband its department and consider proposals submitted from Carnegie and Scott.
Mayor Stover, who said both departments gave excellent presentations, acknowledged that the contractual arrangement will be a change for residents.
"I think public safety will not skip a beat, but we will miss our two officers and seeing the same people every day," Mayor Stover said, adding the community will thank and honor Chief Fischio in a celebration most likely to take place in late August.