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Schuylkill County News

Girardville Looks for New Police Partner After Suspending Its Own Force

Bringing back its own police force is not an option at this point.

girardville mayor michael zangari

Girardville is currently looking for a partner on police protection with a neighboring municipality after it suspended its own police force last month.

Mayor Michael Zangari tells The Canary the borough plans to meet with Frackville officials to get some sort of idea what it might cost to have its police department cover Girardville.

The borough plans to get similar insight from Ashland and Butler Township, too.

Right now, Pennsylvania State Police is covering Girardville.

“Providing adequate police coverage to Girardville is our main purpose,” Zangari says. “Whether it says Girardville on the side of the car, Ashland, Frackville, or Pennsylvania State Police, as long as the individual can take care of that emergency to the best of their ability, it doesn’t matter to me what it says. I just want our residents to feel safe and to have their issues handled by whoever’s responding to those incidents.”

The goal is to have all estimates and assessments of what Girardville can get from another municipality’s police force covering it by September.

In May, Girardville Borough Council voted to suspend its police department for the remainder of 2024. Zangari says it’s unlikely that it’ll be reinstated, at least in the near future.

Part of the issue is cost. The mayor says Girardville simply can’t afford to pay police officers a wage he believes is fitting for the position.

The other part of the issue is Girardville’s recent issues with its own police force.

Earlier this year, the borough’s Officer-in-Charge, Jeremy Talanca, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of fraud for the way he allegedly ran a used-car dealership in Berwick. (READ: Girardville Cop In Prison, Charged With Operating Fraudulent Berwick Car Dealership)

The previous Chief/Officer-in-Charge of Girardville Police, Fabrizio Bivona, currently has a federal lawsuit filed against the borough and its former mayor over numerous alleged violations of his rights. (READ: Girardville’s Former Top Cop Sues Borough With Shocking Claims)

A separate lawsuit from two residents of the borough has also been filed against Talanca and another officer over an alleged incident involving a possible illegal entry into their home where both officers had their guns drawn.

“We can’t continue to spend money on things that just aren’t working,” Zangari says of Girardville’s police situation.

The mayor believes the money Girardville doesn’t spent on its own police force could be better used elsewhere for the borough, such as hiring a full-time code enforcement officer.

“I think that may be an area we need to focus on because we live in a town where, sadly, buildings are falling down faster than we could do something about them,” Zangari says.

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