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How much PSU paid outside cops for gameday security

Plus: Bellwood school athletic director, former coach charged with covering up child abuse

This is Talk of the Town, a free weekly newsletter delivering top news from State College and the surrounding region.

January 18, 2024
Inside this edition: How much state and local police were reimbursed for Penn State home football security, the 911 phone fee hike isn't enough according to county officials, and Bellwood school athletic director and former coach charged with covering up child abuse.

Penn State University paid more than $4.4 million to local and state law enforcement agencies for security at home football games during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, according to financial records gathered by Spotlight PA.

In addition to Penn State’s police force, the university paid, in descending order, Pennsylvania State Police, State College, Patton Township, Ferguson Township, Spring Township, and Bellefonte for security services.

To calculate security costs, Spotlight PA sent open records requests to each of the six law enforcement units, requesting records related to reimbursement totals and the amount of hours their employees worked for home games in the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

The university denied a request from Spotlight PA for similar records, saying that such information is not public. Penn State is largely exempt from Pennsylvania’s open records law — despite being a public university and receiving taxpayer funds — due to its status as one of four state-related universities.

“Penn State provides a level of law enforcement and security at every home football game that is needed for the safety of its athletes, personnel, students and fans who are in attendance,” a university spokesperson wrote in an email to Spotlight PA. 

Penn State paid nearly $2.3 million in additional security costs in 2023, which averaged to about $323,000 for each of the seven home games.

In 2022, the university paid more than $2.1 million, or about $306,000 per home game, according to the records.

Neither of the yearly totals included additional security costs accrued at the spring Blue-White games.

Penn State paid $1.9 million for additional security in 2021, according to previous reporting from Spotlight PA.

Pennsylvania State Police and the State College Police Department received the largest reimbursements in both of the seasons. 

State troopers logged more than 13,300 hours of work in the 2022 football season, for a total reimbursement of $1.5 million, and nearly 13,900 hours in the 2023 campaign, for a total reimbursement of $1.6 million, according to the records.

A Penn State spokesperson wrote to Spotlight PA in an email that Intercollegiate Athletics, which is self-funded, paid for the security provided by the six local and state law enforcement agencies.

“This is a critically important element at a scale that encompasses seven games and about 800,000 people over the course of a typical season,” the Penn State spokesperson wrote. “The use of professionally trained law enforcement from local and regional agencies is a necessary component of the overall game day management plan, as well as an accepted practice used by collegiate stadiums across the country.”

Wyatt Massey, Penn State investigative reporter


“This continues a long and disturbing trend of counties and specifically county property taxpayers having to pick up the slack from the state not funding essential services that affect the entire commonwealth.” 

—Blair County Commissioner Laura Burke said of the 911 phone fee increase approved by lawmakers not being enough
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» Utility shut-off protections in Pa. would be expanded to summer months under bill

» Relief for abuse survivors, other constitutional amendments halted in Pa.’s split legislature

» Pa. county officials say lawmakers’ increase to the 911 phone fee isn’t enough to alleviate taxpayer burden

» New law aims to make guardianship a last resort in Pa., but some experts say it doesn’t go far enough

» Pennsylvania needs to spend $5.4B to close gap between rich and poor schools, report advanced by Dems says

» RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us Thursday, Jan. 25 from 6-7:15 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel on the corruption case rocking this small Pennsylvania city and how local government can protect against wrongdoing. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
🤔 Can’t attend your local town meetings but want to keep tabs on what’s happening? Sign up for the new Centre Documenters newsletter. 

Centre Documenters pays local documenters to attend and document government meetings in six undercovered townships across Centre County — Benner, College, Gregg, Halfmoon, Snow Shoe, and Spring.

You can find meeting notes at centredocumenters.org. Centre Documenters is also launching a texting service, allowing you to receive key takeaways and a link to meeting notes for a particular municipality or type of meeting. 

Read more about Centre Documenters here, and read the latest newsletter here.
The snowy woods of Quehanna Wild Area — located in Cameron, Clearfield and Elk Counties — via Joel DeSerio.

Have a north-central Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
» WTAJ: Bellwood school athletic director, former coach charged
» CDT: State College rental company will pay $10K to settle claims
» Courier Express: Sandy Twp questions DuBois consolidation status

» NCPA: Judge delays decision regarding former county commissioner
» WPSU: Huntingdon Co. getting another judge to address high caseloads
» Mirror: Hollidaysburg Water Authority makes decision on mining
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Jan. 20: The Jaffa Highlanders host the 14th annual Robert Burns Supper, a black-tie affair, in Altoona, Blair County.

» Jan. 20: Break out your dancing shoes for the Montoursville Rotary Benefit Ballroom Dance in Williamsport, Lycoming County.

» Jan. 20: A Choral Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. includes performances from State College Area High and Penn State students at Eisenhower Auditorium in Centre County.

» Jan. 20: Join the Marilla Winter Trek in McKean County on your skis, snowshoes, fat bike, or feet.

» Jan. 24: “Rape Culture on Campus,” a panel discussion, will be held at the HUB-Robeson Center on Penn State’s campus in Centre County.
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