Starting in late December, officers from Lycoming County police departments will be able to use a central processing center to get them back on patrol faster.
Lycoming County commissioners approved hiring two part-time officers to operate the center, which will be housed at the Old Lycoming Township police department, according to Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt.
The central processing center will be used as a clearinghouse to allow on-site officers to digitally photograph and fingerprint those who have committed misdemeanor crimes, Linhardt said.
When that's done, officers can move on to the next call, he said.
"The benefits are several," the district attorney said, adding that the center operates much like the center that processes those accused of driving under the influence.
Linhardt said one way of tracking criminal history is through fingerprints and photographs. He said 20 percent of offenders never have that done.
The central processing center will help change that, Linhardt said.
Grant money from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association will be used to purchase needed equipment.
Commissioners voted to hire two part-time officers to operate the new center. Kenneth T. Schriner and Sidney E. Gable were hired to each work up to 1,000 hours annually at an hourly rate of $15.64.
Linhardt said that initially, the center will be in operation for three to four hours a day.
Commissioners Thursday also formally approved a tax-exempt bond issue from the Berks County Industrial Development Authority that paves the way for a Maine company to buy and renovate Newberry Estates, 2500 Federal Ave.
In order to meet Internal Revenue Service requirements, Lycoming County needed to officially sign off on the project. The county will not be financially obligated to the project.
Ramiro M. Carbonell, an attorney for a Reading law firm representing Silver Street Development Corp., of Portland, Maine, said no local agencies were able to issue the bond.