An effort in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to stem
violent crime by adding 10,000 police officers across the state has died. The
price tag for adding law enforcement officers would have been $450 million.
Sponsored by House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, the
bill remained in a Senate committee awaiting consideration when the session
ended. House lawmakers sent it back to the chamber for final approval before heading
to the governor.
The bill - SB812 - required counties to pay 30 percent -
$135 million - of the cost for the new officers and municipalities would pay 20
percent - $90 million. The state would pick up the tab for the remaining 50
percent - $225 million.
Opponents said the bill could cause a problem for
financially strapped communities. Commissioners in Westmoreland County, PA, said a local tax increase likely would be required to offset the cost, the Pittsburgh
Supporters deny it presented a hardship for county
Al Bowman, a spokesman for Perzel, said counties could have
chosen not to participate.
The bill called for officers to be added during the next
four years using a distribution formula that takes into account the existing
number of officers, crime rate and population. That would amount to about 2,600
hires annually throughout the state.
The effort can be reintroduced during the regular session
that begins Jan. 2.