Should Summit Township hire more police officers?

That was the big question at a meeting Monday night. And the answer, one official said, comes down to dollars and cents.

Though he said he doubts the township can afford it, newly appointed supervisors Chairman Bob Miller said he would consult the township’s other two supervisors about hiring more police.

“The only way I see possible is to raise taxes,” Miller said. “I’m sure nobody wants that now.”

The township is patrolled mainly by two officers working 72 hours weekly, though one officer is cutting his hours.

Nathan Claycomb, the department’s officer in charge, said he would request that the township hire another officer to keep police coverage at the same level. Claycomb said 72 hours is hardly enough to meet the department’s needs.

“Between handling calls in the township, Garrett Borough and the Meyersdale Area School District, we have to keep up,” he said.

Township resident Patti Fullerton pleaded for a heavier police presence at the township meeting Monday.

“I believe there are too many holes (in coverage),” she said. “I don’t think people even realize that until crime comes knocking at your door.”

Miller told her to buy a gun.

“We’re not going to afford it,” he said. “Find out how many people you can get to come in here and discuss this problem.”

With a current property-tax rate of 2.6 mills, Miller said the township cannot pay more police officers.

“Our pocketbook is telling us what to do,” he said.

Fullerton, though, argued that police coverage is a worthwhile expense.

“I would just like to be safer in my house and in my town,” she said. “I believe there should be another officer here.”

Former supervisors Chairman Tim Fritz stepped down from his leadership position at the meeting.

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