Regardless, it’s worth looking into, he said.
Southwest Chief Riley Smoot said he doesn’t know what to expect from the study.
“I don’t know what the outcome (will bring),” Smoot said. “I will do what has been requested of us.”
Mercer County Regional Council of Governments (COG) Executive Director Thomas Tulip is the permanent chairman of the commission that governs the department.
“We’ve been supportive of it (the study) from the beginning,” he said. “We’re anxious to have an independent set of eyes give us some new thoughts and ideas.
ICMA was one of four consultants that submitted proposals to do the study, which as a professional services contract could have been awarded to any of them.
The proposals ranged from $20,000 to $46,000, Ceci said.
ICMA was chosen for its impartiality and expertise in the field, Ceci said.
“We ignored the dollars and cents. This is too important to worry about,” he said. “It was worth a little extra to get the right information.”
The study will be paid for with a $25,000 state Department of Community and Economic Development grant with the rest being underwritten by Farrell.
It should be done by year’s end, Ceci said.
Its findings will be non-binding and any changes to the department would have to be made by the police commission, which includes two representatives from each of the municipalities served by Southwest.
“We’re anxious to see specifically if there are things we can make improvements on,” Tulip said.
The department was formed in 1992 as a union between Farrell and Wheatland police forces. West Middlesex joined in 1993 and Shenango Township was added in 2004, Smoot said.
The variety of territory the department covers makes it fun to be a police officer, Smoot said.
“It’s a lesson every day. You get to meet more people and learn how they live,” Smoot said. “You learn how to try to be in the right place at the right time.”
Twenty-one full-timers and nine part-timers make up the department, Smoot said.