RANKIN (KDKA) — Rankin Borough will soon become the latest police force in the region to receive help from the Pennsylvania State Police.
The borough is bringing in the state police to cover the night shifts because there aren’t enough officers to cover the necessary shifts. State police officers are expected to take over the night duties as soon as next month.
Rankin wants to make sure the community knows they’re not disbanding the department as East Pittsburgh did.
Officials say they want to grow the force, but they need help first.
“What they need to do is to get more people to come in and to invest,” said Marvin Akers of Rankin. “There’s a whole lot of land here to invest in. … Then they can pay for more officers.”
Rankin has a part-time police department, and the force is among the lowest paid in the county.
But borough leaders say the academies just aren’t producing enough officers, and they are losing the ones they do to school and other jobs.
“We asked other police departments,” said William Price, Rankin Borough council president. “They’re all short.”
Kristine Kochus’ family has owned Emil’s Lounge for 60 years. The business is right across the street from the Rankin Police Station.
“Knowing that we’re right across from the police station, and there’s somebody always at the police station, helps out dramatically,” Kristine said.
The state police officers are expected to just cover the night shift temporarily.
Plans are also in the works for a regional force that includes Rankin, Braddock, North Braddock, Whitaker and East Pittsburgh.
Borough leaders say if they had four or five more part-time officers, the officer shortage would be solved on a short-term basis.
They know the long-term plan of a regional force will create more full-time jobs.