Representatives from the Pennsylvania state police, Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and other public officials attended a public hearing on Thursday night at the Philipsburg-Osceola Area Middle School to address plans to consolidate the Philipsburg and Rockview state police barracks.
The hearing was organized by Philipsburg resident Nancy Snyder in effort to offer residents of the region an opportunity to hear from state officials about the consolidation plan.
In March, Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, received a letter from Wolf detailing plans to consolidate the Philipsburg and Rockview barracks into a new facility. Wolf said in the letter that the construction of the facility, planned for Benner Commerce Park in Bellefonte, is scheduled to begin in the spring.
Since Conklin received the letter, state police have not commented on the consolidation until the Thursday hearing, when Maj. Maynard Gray confirmed the plans to the almost 300 people in attendance.
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Gray presented the residents with a slideshow detailing the coverage areas that will be patrolled by troopers. The Rockview barracks will have eight zones that will be patrolled. The troopers will have a mobile data terminal that will allow them to remain on patrol in their designated zone throughout their shifts, according to Gray.
There will be no reduction of troopers when the consolidation occurs and the coverage is expected to increase, according to Capt. David Cain.
The existing Philipsburg barracks will be repurposed to house administration offices, and there will be no uniformed officers at the facility, according to Cain.
The new barracks will be constructed by Hudson Companies, of Hermitage, but state police did not confirm the lease rate of almost $28,000 per month that the governor detailed in his letter to Conklin in March. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and be completed in 2018, according to Gray.
The decision to consolidate was made by state police in early February without input from the governor’s office, according to Gray.
“This was a decision made by the state police in an effort to be fiscally responsible,” Gray said. “But the important thing for residents to know is there will be no lack of coverage, and the people of the area will continue to enjoy the service they have always known.”