State Police to Close Lancaster County Barracks

Mary Wilson & Essential Public Radio Staff May 14, 2012

Plans to close a Pennsylvania State Police barracks and shift personnel from another facility could become a common theme if the agency’s numbers keeping dropping.

The cameras rolled in Lancaster County as state lawmakers asked hard-hitting questions about a plan to close the Ephrata state police barracks, and shuffle the personnel of another station in Lancaster.

But the agency is framing the proposed changes as an overall gain for the Commonwealth. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said it’s just a reassignment of priorities, so no region has too many or too few troopers.

“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,” said Noonan. “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.”

If every position in the State Police were filled, the ranks would stand at nearly 4,700. Noonan said the agency’s vacancies could rise to 600 by the end of the year.

Noonan said because the state police are running low on troopers, plans to close stations and shift personnel could become much more routine, and not just in Lancaster County.

“You know, we have to make decisions so that these things don’t hit us all at once. That’s basically what we’re discussing these plans,” said Noonan. “This would be something we would start, maybe we would do it here first, but it will go throughout the state.”