To Protect and to Fund: Small Towns Want Their Own Police Forces


Mineola, Longi Island, is a suburban village that is headquarters to a few thousand Nassau County police officers, scores of detectives, a bomb squad, a SWAT team and hundreds of armed court officers who guard the civil and criminal courts. But according to their mayor, the people of Mineola feel unsafe. So, like a cluster of small-town officials around the country of late, the mayor of Mineola is proposing to secede from the county police system and establish a police department that the people here can call their own, reports the New York Times.

From Truckee, Calif., to Mint Hill, N.C., perhaps two dozen police departments have been formed in the last few years – some as small as the one-man department in East Marlborough, Pa., and others with 20 to 100 officers. The boomlet seems to be driven mainly by a desire to maintain or re-establish control over so-called quality of life indexes, experts said. As urban density spreads through the suburbs, some communities with a small-town character sense police resources draining from their streets, and want police visibility restored. But another incentive, some suggest, is revenue: Along with all its other powers and duties, a local constabulary's ability to write tickets can often produce a positive cash flow for the town.


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