Upper Merion police have avoided layoffs by reaching a deal with the township to defer a contractual pay raise.

The township supervisors unanimously authorized the layoffs of four of the 64 police officers next year at a Dec. 10 meeting, citing financial difficulties and an impasse over the raise. The agreement this week ends that possibility, officials of the township and police union said yesterday.

The deal calls for the force to forgo its raise for 2010 and instead accept 96 hours of compensatory time, which can be taken as leave or paid out over the following three years.

The police bargaining unit agreed Monday to the arrangement, which the township is expected to sign formally soon, Police Cpl. Andy Fidler said. - Derrick Nunnally