JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Johnstown Police Department received a nearly $760,000 boost to support the force.

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-Richland Township, announced the $759,718 allocation Wednesday, saying it will give a list of departments statewide the ability to upgrade surveillance and body cameras, add license plate readers and develop programs aimed at recruiting new police officers and retaining current ones.

Details on the department’s plans for the funding weren’t immediately known Wednesday.

Johnstown police Capt. Chad Miller, when notified about the funding award, said Chief Richard Pritchard planned to divulge more information later this week – after the department’s 2023 budget is adopted.

States including Pennsylvania have focused on ways to respond after violent crime rose across much of the nation in 2021.

In U.S. cities, the spike was 29%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Johnstown residents have also voiced concern this year about a rise in crime and gun violence.

“As a former assistant district attorney, I am deeply concerned about the sharp rise in crime, in our region, and across our commonwealth, Langerholc said.

“This funding,” he added, “will assist law enforcement in turning the tide and ensuring the safety of our communities.”

Two Bedford County communities will also receive funding, said state Sen. Patrick Stefano, R-Fayette.

Everett Borough is in line to see $21,500 for in-car and officer-worn body cameras, while Saxton Borough will receive $32,000 for in-car equipment and a server to support the devices, he said.

Several Clearfield County communities within Langerholc’s 35th District also received funding, including Curwensville and Clearfield.

The Local Law Enforcement Grant Program was created by lawmakers through the state’s 2022-23 budget, which the Pennsylvania Senate backed 47-3 in July prior to Gov. Tom Wolf signing it into law. 

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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