By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
SHENANGO VALLEY —
Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission agreed Tuesday to participate in a study by the state that is an offshoot of Farrell’s development of an economic recovery plan.
The commission approved filing an application for $10,000 for the study, although all funds will come from the state and the commission will not have to pay anything.
The study will look for ways to improve the effectiveness of the department and will cover organizational structure, finances, personnel policies, compensation, service levels, policies and procedures and facilities and equipment.
“Very comprehensive,” said commission Chairman Thomas R. Tulip. “Looks at every phase of our operation.”
Despite the apparent thoroughness, “He didn’t feel like this would be that complicated of a study,” said Police Chief Riley Smoot Jr., referring to a conversation with an official from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which would fund and perform the study.
The commission would decide whether to implement any changes, not the state, Tulip said, and the study could result in the department being awarded grant money for capital expenses.
The state official asked Smoot to put together a capital wish list.
The study will include findings, conclusions and recommendations, and will compare the department with similar-sized and regional departments.
Wheatland Mayor Tom Stanton voted against participating in the study, saying he does not like state interference.
The city of Farrell, a member of the commission, is obligated to study a wide range of areas as part of the development of a new economic recovery plan. The city has been considered an economically distressed community since 1987 and must undertake such plans periodically.