LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The City of Lancaster has announced that Fire Station 6 will be closing and the Police Bureau’s Mounted Unit will be disbanded effective January 2024.
These changes come as the city faces a structural deficit and as “revenue does not naturally meet the increasing costs to maintain current services,” according to a joint statement from the mayor’s office, the Bureau of Fire, and the Bureau of Police.
“We have a responsibility to our residents to have top-of-the-line fire and police response while also being responsible stewards of tax dollars. Both announcements today will help the City of Lancaster increase efficiency and maintain our high standard of public safety,” said Mayor Danene Sorace.
The city says the closure of Station 6 will not impact staffing levels, and firefighters from the station will be redeployed to other existing stations.
According to the city, the change will improve safety conditions for firefighters while maintaining industry-standard response times. The city says the closure will also avoid the cost of renovations needed to meet modern safety standards.
“The Lancaster City Fire Bureau of today is now reflected in safer, modern facilities supported by new apparatus, and a fully dedicated team of professionals who are best in class. We look forward to continuing our high level of service to the community,” said Fire Chief Todd Hutchinson.
The city also said that the decision to discontinue the Police Bureau’s Mounted Unit is in response to staffing challenges and changing community needs.
Mounted officers will integrate into the patrol division.
“Integrating the mounted officers back into platoons will ease the strain on patrol officers and alleviate some financial burden on taxpayers who cover the costs of necessary overtime pay, estimated to be $900,000 in 2023 alone,” Police Chief Richard Mendez said.
Police say they are also exploring new approaches to engaging with the community including technology, expanding bike patrols, and potentially adding a therapy dog.