Centre County’s high-profile trials last month — of convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky and three men convicted in a spree of sometimes violent robberies and burglaries — cost $34,080 for police coverage.
In all, the officers from Bellefonte, State College and Spring, Patton and Ferguson townships and Penn State logged 972 hours during the two weeks of the trials.
The figures were reported to Borough Council by the borough’s police chief, Shawn Weaver, during a meeting Monday night.
“This was a pretty big challenge as far as a small town goes,” Weaver said.
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“Justice was served and it happened in this town. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
State College police accrued the largest overtime charges, at $7,650.
Weaver said he can try to get reimbursement for overtime from the state Attorney General’s Office because the trial resulted from a grand jury investigation, but he has no idea what, if any, he’ll get back.
Sandusky’s trial generated national media attention never before seen in this town from the start on June 11 through the verdict that came late the night of June 22, a Friday.
Large news trucks were stationed around the courthouse for two weeks, and the lawn in front of the Centre County Courthouse was a makeshift newsroom for reporters.
Hundreds gathered to hear the verdict, the attorney general gave a speech, and the crowd lingered until after midnight.
The trial for robbery and burglary defendants Maksim Illarionov, Anatoliy Veretnov and Dmitriy Litvinov started June 18, and the jury reached a verdict the same day as in Sandusky’s trial, but a few hours earlier.
Days before trial, it was revealed that years before, one of the defendants had made jailhouse threats to kill the judge, the district attorney and sheriff’s deputies.
During the trial’s opening, snipers were stationed on top of the Brockerhoff House.
Officers patrolled the streets as early as 7 a.m. and worked until court finished each day. Fire police directed pedestrian and vehicle traffic on Allegheny Street during the afternoon each day.
The trials were another example of how the municipal police departments here work together for large events, most of which happen in State College or on campus.
For instance, Weaver said Bellefonte officers helped with the riot that ensued in downtown State College the night Joe Paterno was fired. Weaver said he felt as though he got the time his force expended right back with State College’s help for the trials.
Police Chief Tom King said State College police couldn’t handle big events alone with their 60- plus officers, and Bellefonte couldn’t with their smaller force.
“It’s very critical that when we get big events, like Arts Fest or a football weekend, that we support each other,” he said.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter
CDT reporter Jessica VanderKolk contributed to this report.