As children, most of us heard the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
The young shepherd in the fable raises false alarms so many times that when a wolf comes to eat his sheep, the townspeople don’t believe him and don’t come to help.
We compare that story to that of the borough of Sharpsville, which has asked the city of Hermitage a few times in the last decade for help in providing police services.
But each time Hermitage has returned a proposal — even though it apparently would provide some savings to taxpayers — Sharpsville has turned it down, most recently by a unanimous vote.
Why would Hermitage official believe the borough is interested anymore? It has been a waste of time for them.
Sharpsville residents obviously aren’t interested in having a police force patrol in their borough when they have no say in how it is operated. We can’t completely fault that.
About 70 Sharpsville residents at a council meeting last Wednesday night railed against having Hermitage police patrol their town, claiming that the response time might not be as good as it stands.
A few of them, and we doubt they were speaking for the masses, said they wouldn’t mind if borough officials increased taxes to keep its department intact.
Nevertheless, it’s apparent — at least if the 70 attendees are a barometer — that Sharpsville residents obviously want to have some control of their policing fate.
How about this? That could happen if Sharpsville — and Sharon — were to join the Southwest Mercer County Police Department, as mentioned by Councilman Jack Cardwell.
The department is run by a board that includes officials from each community and is operated through the Mercer County Council of Governments. Sharpsville and Sharon would both have a say in how the department is run.
Every local resident needs to face the reality that our entire area is rapidly declining. Sharon could be heading into state Act 47 status as a “distressed” community — a status Farrell and Greenville share already.
Sharpsville is hardly immune to the ills affecting the rest of their neighbors in the Shenango Valley, like a stagnant tax base and increasing costs.
Or how about taking it a step farther? How does the creation of a Shenango Valley Police Department sound?
Sharpsville, Sharon, Farrell and Wheatland, for starters, could form a single police force. These communities share similar financial losses, declining business and industrial bases, and familiar police problems.
The department would be operated by a board including officials from each community and should provide savings to each partner.
These are solutions that could help Sharpsville taxpayers and provide a police service equal to or better than the one it has.
The only question would be — Is Sharpsville really interested, or just crying wolf? Maybe the timing is right to find out.