ERIE, Pa. Nov 29 2016-- Some private police forces are outgrowing Erie's municipal departments.
But it's the collaboration between all of these forces that they say is what's effective in keeping you safe.
The LECOM police department is now the third largest police force in Erie County. Their 54-member department just a bit smaller than Millcreek police.
Although they may be separate departments, there's a lot of overlap when it comes to protecting the city and region.
Erie police works closely with five other departments: Gannon, Mercyhurst, LECOM, UPMC Hamot and the Erie School District.
Then there's Erie Insurance Security. All protecting and serving Erie.
The private forces handle most of the misdemeanors and smaller crimes like car thefts, traffic violations and larceny with most felony investigations are handed over to the Erie police.
But the directors of these private forces say it's beneficial to have a department that can focus on the needs of the businesses, but also have the assistance from departments like Erie.
“Our jurisdictions are at the boundaries of LECOM properties,” LECOM police director Kevin Goode said. “So a lot of times we will have to have other assistance from outside agencies. But then on the other hand, there is overlap. They will rely on information that we have."
A lot of these private departments overlap, as Erie Insurance, Gannon and UPMC Hamot all patrol areas in downtown Erie. And as LECOM continues to expand it's footprint, the police force will grow with it.