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2 Washington County police departments will disband

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
BYLINE: Janice Crompton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Link to Article

Washington County, PA

The Washington County district attorney's office plans to seize police evidence rooms and files this morning, after receiving word that two local police departments will be disbanding.

District Attorney Steven Toprani said Thursday his office secured two court orders to padlock and seize evidence and file storage rooms in the Fallowfield and Hanover police departments.

Supervisors from each township voted to disband their police departments, effective today. Mr. Toprani said officials from each township notified his office of their plans.

"We have concerns about the proper distribution of property and evidence," he said.

Both departments have had their share of controversy in recent years.

Two years ago, former Fallowfield police Captain Allen Pettit was arrested for stealing a substantial amount of marijuana and cocaine from the evidence room at his police department. He pleaded guilty in April 2009.

"There have been questions concerning their evidence room," Mr. Toprani said of the Fallowfield department.

On Wednesday night, supervisors in Hanover voted to disband their eight-member department, saying the township could no longer afford liability insurance.

The township, which provided police protection and security services for the First Niagara Pavilion -- formerly the Post-Gazette Pavilion -- has been plagued in recent years with lawsuits over police brutality at the amphitheater.

Insurance rates have risen as the township settled most of the lawsuits out of court.

A special panel of police chiefs from various local departments will inventory the contents of the evidence and file storage rooms at the Fallowfield and Hanover departments and issue recommendations to the DA's office soon, Mr. Toprani said.

Janice Crompton: or 724-223-0156.

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