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Clifford Twp. lays off police force

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Clifford Twp. voted this week to discontinue its police force.

Supervisor Dennis Knowlton said Friday the vote on Tuesday was unanimous, and even though Police Chief Donald A. Caroll and his officers were doing a great job, "We just couldn't afford it."

"I was hoping we wouldn't have to go this route, but we got nailed with a lawsuit," unrelated to the police force, Mr. Knowlton said.

"With rising costs, we had to find ways to cut our expenses," he said. He noted Clifford is a small township with a lot of residents on fixed incomes for whom raising taxes too much is a big hardship.

"Yes, public safety is a big concern that we remain committed to, as well," Mr. Knowlton said, "but the state police have assured us that they will be able to help us out with coverage at this time."

Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg said, "I recognize the budgetary difficulties that small municipalities have in maintaining a municipal police force. I am gratified that some of our small municipalities are able to provide some police protection to their residents."

But, Mr. Legg added, "I am disappointed that Clifford Twp. has made this decision - not only for the residents but for the municipal police officers who have dedicated themselves to serving that small community for so many years."

Mr. Legg said he wished he had been contacted before the decision, "but I was told afterward that this might only be a temporary hiatus until the budget issues are straightened out, and I remain hopeful that this is truly only a temporary situation."

Attempts to reach Police Chief Donald Carroll were unsuccessful.

Contact the writer: bbaker@wcexaminer.com

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