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District attorney wants public to get the best police service

Published: Fri, August 23, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

SHARON, Pa. -- James Epstein, Mercer County district attorney, said a merger of Sharon and Southwest Mercer County Regional police departments might not be a bad thing, but he wouldn't want to see a degradation of Sharon's police services.
Sharon has a police department with sufficient ranking officers to handle all investigations.
Southwest Regional, although good at dealing with emergency issues, has only a single detective and no operations officer, he said.
The difference can be seen in cases presented to his office for prosecution, Epstein said.
There are good officers in both departments, and they work well together, but Southwest lacks the manpower it needs to be a full-service department, he said.
Merger really isn't the issue, he said, explaining that the major concern would be the structure of the new department and whether the municipalities involved would be willing or able to fund a full-service department.
Sharon, with a complement of 30, has only full-time officers, while Southwest has 16 full-time slots and eight part-time positions.
Epstein has said before that he favors departments using full-time officers because they are more able to provide a continuity of investigation in handling cases.
As district attorney, Epstein said he wants the public to get the best police services that can be provided.

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