Low funding, strained patrols and officer turnover common among some Mon Valley police departments

Guy Collins, Braddock’s acting police chief, earns about $18 an hour in part-time wages. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)
It takes only a short drive with Braddock’s acting police chief Guy Collins to witness the strange facts of life in the Mon Valley.
Up ahead is Rankin, where police work the same grueling hours as Braddock officers for lower pay, scrambling to second or even third jobs, just to make ends meet. Cut through the other side, and there’s Swissvale, where officers work toward comfortable pensions, and even part-time rookies make nearly the hourly rate Collins gets as acting chief.
“Just a mile away,” he said, guiding the cruiser down a quiet block. “It’s pretty weird.”
Call it a quirk of geography, where fragmented boundaries mean driving a few blocks can put you in a vastly different tax base. Navigate to Swissvale, and pockets of wealth translate to steady funds for borough services. But here in Braddock, even a blossoming business strip pales against decades of disinvestment, and the police department is a revolving door for officers who leave for better opportunities.

Some days, Collins wonders if there’s even an officer to cover the night shift.


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