The departments may be small, but plenty of them are pricey. In more than half of the state’s 20 smallest towns with their own forces, the towns spent at least $1 million to maintain a police department.
Some towns have tried to merge their departments to reduce costs. But residents are often willing to pay extra to have their own police force, said Marc Pfeiffer of the research center at Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School.
“Small police departments have existed in New Jersey for decades,” Pfeiffer said. “They will likely continue to exist, unless the residents feel that the cost of providing the services warrants looking somewhere else.”