Sen. Yaw: Administrations’ Position Disappointing

HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) today issued the following statement after learning the Administration was adamant that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Aviation Patrol Unit (APU) IV, formerly located at the Williamsport Regional Airport, was not part of the Fiscal Code.

“I am disappointed by the Administration’s stance to not allow a provision in the state fiscal code to return the APU back to the Williamsport Regional Airport. From the beginning, there have been more questions raised than answers provided on the transfer of the APU from Williamsport to Hazleton. To say that I am very disappointed in the Administration’s stance is an understatement and I have no intention of giving up the fight.”

On November 8, 2011, an announcement was made by the PSP that the APU would be closed at the Williamsport Regional Airport and relocated to Hazleton.

On December 16, 2011, in a joint letter signed by Yaw and Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R-Tioga), who’s Senatorial District is served by the APU, the legislators asked Governor Corbett to reconsider the closing.

In May 2012, the Senate Law and Justice Committee, of which Yaw serves as a member, held a public hearing in Lancaster to discuss proposed changes in the way the PSP patrol and work in Lancaster County. During the hearing, Yaw raised the question as to how local officials heard of the proposed changes to the Lancaster Troop J barracks. Local officials responded that they, too, were not notified or consulted in advance.

Subsequently, in June 2012, the Senate Law and Justice Committee & House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Corrections, chaired by Yaw, held a joint public hearing in Williamsport on the impact on moving the APU out of Lycoming County and to discuss the complement throughout central Pennsylvania. Yaw expressed his disappointment that no PSP official attended the hearing. As stated by several, the testimony in favor of restoring the APU was “compelling.”

“Ultimately, my main concern is the safety of the residents of central Pennsylvania,” Yaw added. “It became evident at the hearing in June that the loss of the APU would undoubtedly be detrimental to public safety. The APU serves 12 rural counties in central Pennsylvania covering 7,600 square miles with a population of almost 500,000 residents. Even more baffling is the fact that no public safety officers or personnel in Lycoming County or surrounding counties represented by the APU were consulted prior to the announcement. This was a very poor decision.”

Contact: Rita Zielonis
(717) 787-3280