Tarentum adds Springdale, East Deer to dispatch center
TARENTUM — Borough Police Chief Bill Vakulick said preparations are under way to add two communities to its emergency dispatching center, and a new township to its police department’s coverage area.
Beginning Saturday, Tarentum will begin dispatching police and fire calls for East Deer and Springdale. Calls in the two communities are dispatched by Harrison, but both recently signed a five-year contract with Tarentum that starts with the new year.
In July, Tarentum police will take on the responsibility of patrolling Frazer.
State police from their station near Kittanning currently serve the township, but the Pittsburgh Mills mega-mall, which is scheduled to open in mid-July, has created the need for a 24-hour police presence. Tarentum’s force will handle that.
Vakulick said he expects to hire about 12 part-time officers to handle calls to Frazer, and also purchase two new police cruisers. The department currently consists of six full-time officers and three part-time officers.
Vakulick said he expects council to hire the officers by March in time to train them for duty by July. The contract with Frazer requires Tarentum police to begin patrolling the township at least 15 days before the mall opens.
Tarentum will receive more than $300,000 each year for the service.
The money will come from the $500,000 that Frazer will receive annually from mall officials for 20 years.
The department will have a substation in the mall, and two officers will be required to patrol the township from the time the first mall store opens until the last is closed. However, Tarentum will provide 24-hour service to Frazer.
“I’m very excited,” Vakulick said.
The police chief also said he’s happy to have East Deer and Springdale back with the dispatch center. Both communities at one time had been with the dispatch center before switching to Harrison. He said the department already works closely with East Deer because the two communities border one another.
The chief said officials have hired three additional part-time dispatchers to join the four full-time and two part-timers that are already there. There will be two dispatchers working the desk at all times. That’s not always been the case.
Besides Tarentum, Springdale and East Deer, the dispatch center will handle calls for Frazer, Harmar, Oakmont, Springdale Township and Verona.
Harrison Dispatch will continue to handle calls for Brackenridge, Cheswick, Fawn and Harrison.
Harrison Police Chief Mike Klein said township officials withdrew their offers in October to continue dispatching East Deer and Springdale. He didn’t want to comment on why that decision was made.
“I choose to take the high road and not elaborate,” Klein said. “We will depart ways with dignity and class.” Additional Information:
Beginning Saturday, people living in Springdale and East Deer who have an emergency still can dial 911, or Tarentum Dispatch at 724-224-1515.