Plans to close a state trooper barracks and shift personnel from another facility could become a common theme in Pennsylvania if the agency’s numbers keeping dropping.
Cameras rolled Monday as state lawmakers asked hard-hitting questions about a plan to close an Ephrata, Lancaster County, state police barracks and move the higher-ranking troopers of another station.
Officials say the plan will actually mean more troopers on patrol. It’s just a reassignment of priorities, so no region has too many or too few troopers, said state police commissioner Frank Noonan..
“The zones will stay the same. Our patrol areas will stay the same. The amount of cars in those zone areas will stay the same,” Noonan said. “What would happen is we would be moving some of our administrative personnel.”
But Noonan says if the ranks of troopers drop too much, the force will have to make “serious adjustments.”
And because the agency is having trouble filling its vacancies, plans to close stations and shift personnel could become much more routine.
“You know, we have to make decisions so that these things don’t hit us all at once. That’s basically why we’re discussing these plans,” he said. “This would be something we would start, maybe we would do it here first but it will go throughout the state.”
The proposal to close the Ephrata barracks is due to a reduction in reported incidents, and could be finalized within the month.
The personnel change for the Lancaster station could hinge on how much the state police get in state funding next year.