Ashley Officials Consider Police Options

May 2, 2019

ASHLEY — Borough officials are contemplating various options for the future of police coverage, including the possibility of having a neighboring town’s force take charge.

Meanwhile, the borough’s police dog is currently without a handler and is temporarily living with a councilman.

Ashley had four full-time officers, but two are out on workers’ compensation claims and another — the K-9 handler — recently resigned to take a full-time job elsewhere, council Chairman John Gibbons said.

“All of a sudden we are down to one full-time officer,” Gibbons said.

Considering the current situation, borough leaders are looking to see if the structure of police protection needs to be changed.

The borough currently still has 24/7 police coverage by its own department, but is relying on part-timers to fill shifts.

Town leaders are considering whether to continue with four full-timers, or perhaps have a only a full-time chief with part-time officers covering the remaining time slots. But, the right decision also could be to outsource policing, Gibbons conceded.

“We have to look at everything every year and make sure things don’t cost us more than we can afford,” Gibbons said. “We should know more in two weeks. We don’t want to drive up taxes to the point our seniors can’t afford to live here. We have to have coverage to keep everyone safe, but we need the best price.”

Gibbons is currently caring for the borough police department’s dog, a Belgian Malinois named Mick.

Mick’s handler, Officer Chris Capasso, recently took a full-time job with another department.

Gibbons said a three-person commission is currently vetting two officers who applied to be the K-9 handler.

Gibbons said the dog is doing fine under his care.

“It’s a temporary thing,” Gibbons said. “We did not want to put the dog in a kennel.”

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570-821-2055, @cvbobkal