Weekly Department Feature: Stroud Area Regional Police Department
In May 2000, the Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg and Stroud Township departments merged into a single unit with 55 fulltime officers, which is now the largest regional police department in Pennsylvania. The department serves an area in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania with a total population of about 35,000 – and growing fast. Having one large police department instead of three small ones is expected to save the three communities about $100,000 a year.
As can be expected, there have been some minor growing pains.
“It’s still taking time to get everyone on the same sheet of music,” said Richard Ruck.
The problems include merging three departments with different internal structures and salary scales. Each of the three police chiefs became a captain in the new department and a new chief was selected after an extensive search.
The Stroudsburg area, just west of the Delaware River, has long been attractive to tourists. Recently, it has begun to attract year-round residents who trade a long commute to New York or northern New Jersey for affordable houses in a peaceful rural setting. East Stroudsburg is also home to a state university.
Ruck finds some loss of personal contact with the much larger new organization. But he said that having three police stations less than half an hour apart was not an efficient use of resources. The single department also speeds investigations that cross municipal lines.
Officers had to learn their way around the entire area.
“It was like being a new police officer again,” Ruck said. “I had to learn the town.”
For more information on the creation of the Stroud Area Regional Police Department, Click Here.