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Buffalo Township police, Butler County unit reach agreement

Buffalo Township police chief Tim Derringer speaks during a board of supervisors meeting on Wednesday night. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

BUFFALO TWP — The township’s board of supervisors recently approved a mutual aid agreement between the Buffalo Township Police Department and the Butler County Emergency Services Unit.

The agreement, struck during the board of supervisors meeting on Wednesday night, June 12, would allow members of the Buffalo Township Police Department to voluntarily join the Butler County ESU, a unit consisting of officers from police departments across the county.

Police Chief Tim Derringer describes the ESU as a county-wide “SWAT team” that provides assistance to the township for any serious incidents requiring intervention beyond what the police department can handle on its own.

“This unit handles crisis situations, such as hostage situations, barricaded gunmen, school violence, terrorist acts, sniper ambush situations and high-risk warrant services.” Derringer said.

According to Chief Derringer, Buffalo Township was one of the few remaining municipalities in Butler County that did not have a representative on the ESU yet. The ESU also has representatives from police departments in Butler City, Butler Township, Zelienople, Adams Township, Cranberry Township, Penn Township, Jackson Township, Saxonburg, and Slippery Rock.

“This would basically be our municipality joining the ESU, which would mean officers on a voluntary basis in our department could join this,” Derringer said.

Officers are assigned to the ESU on a voluntary basis. In addition to their regular wages, officers who take part in the ESU are compensated by the township police department for any time spent conducting ESU activities. However, the county will pay workers’ comp to officers for any injuries sustained conducting ESU activities.

In demonstrating the need for the ESU in Butler County, Chief Derringer mentioned an incident from earlier this week that occurred in Harrison Township in Allegheny County. On Tuesday, June 11, a SWAT team was deployed to detain a man who police said refused to leave his home after being served an arrest warrant.

“If we have certain situations like that, we just don't have the manpower to do it,” Derringer said. “Thankfully, the county created that, and we have guys that are willing to do it.”

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