Tyrone police to maintain backup coverage

TYRONE – Borough police will be allowed to respond to state police requests for backup in Snyder Township, provided state police are on scene or en route, allowing officers to fulfill their duty to protect while the borough maintains liability coverage.

Borough Manager Phyllis Garhart reported to council Monday that a clarification needed to be made before copies of the twin ordinances – which were passed last month between Snyder and Tyrone – could be sent to the Blair County 911 Center and the borough’s insurance company.

The ordinances granted Tyrone’s police officers jurisdiction within Snyder Township to respond to calls as first responders or as backup for Tyrone Hospital and the Tyrone Area School District.

But Garhart said there was an issue as to whether Tyrone officers could go into Snyder without state police already there.

Police Chief John Romeo mentioned a March 3 incident that Tyrone police responded to when a couple was found dead in their Cold Springs housing development apartment outside the borough. Tyrone police were called because state police were 20 minutes away.

Council Vice President Christy Ray said the law is clear: In those cases, Tyrone police can assist state police officers when needed.

“But how many [calls from state police] were rinky-dink, stupid calls?” she asked, and were there minor calls that state police didn’t want to take? She said she wondered whether borough police could be taken advantage of.

Tyrone police used to receive more calls for minor incidents, Romeo said, but after state police were alerted to the borough-township jurisdiction issue, the number of calls has dropped.

“They have been told … not to call Tyrone, unless it’s a serious incident,” he said.

Councilman William Latchford said he was in favor of responding when there is a need, and part of that assistance could mean arriving on scene ahead of state police, but not in place of them.

A motion presented by Solicitor Larry Clapper to allow Tyrone police officers to respond with state police as long as state police are also on the way or already there passed 6-0. Councilmen Mark Kosoglow and Raymond Detwiler were absent.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.