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East Pittsburgh police force down to 5 part-time officers

Theresa Clift
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Mayor of East Pittsburgh, Louis Payne, looks on during a East Pittsburgh Borough Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018.

East Pittsburgh will soon be down to five working part-time officers while officials of the tiny borough continue to consider whether to disband its police force.

In June, the borough’s police department consisted of eight part-time officers as well as Chief Lori Payne.

Officer Nathaniel Calebro resigned Sept. 11 and officer Brian Jenks is resigning Sunday, according to the council agenda for its Tuesday meeting.

Officer Michael Rosfeld has been on unpaid leave since fatally shooting unarmed teen Antwon Rose II on June 19. He has been charged with criminal homicide.

The borough will not be immediately filling the vacant police positions, Mayor Louis Payne said.

The smaller force is still able to patrol the borough, and all shifts are covered, Payne said.

“We’re safe as can be here, everything’s fine,” Payne said.

The borough has had more officers on staff in recent years, but was down to five in 1998, Payne said.

“Everybody’s numbers are down,” Payne said.

The borough has agreements with other municipalities to help policing when needed, Payne said.

The borough is still in talks with Allegheny County and several other neighboring municipalities about the idea of contracting for police, council President Dennis Simon said. Borough officials are still not naming those municipalities.

During last month’s meeting, Simon said council would name the communities it’s in talks with at its next meeting, even if there is no vote.

The state police would be a last-resort option, Simon said.

Council discussed the matter during a closed session meeting Tuesday evening.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Theresa at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift.

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