City Of Wilkes-Barre Swears In 10 New Police Officers

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A large crowd looked on in council chambers Tuesday as 10 new city police officers were sworn in wearing suits and ties and shiny new badges, but the message was sobering.

“There will be challenging times and scary moments,” said Rev. J. Duane Gavitt, the police department’s chaplain.

Police Chief Robert Hughes said the new officers are beginning a new call to service.

“There will be late nights,” he said. “There will be middle of the night call-outs. You are prepared for this.”

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news-news/152145029/W-B-swears-in-10-new-police-officers

Cadets Graduate From MCCC Municipal Police Academy

Blue Bell, Pa.—“This is not a one-time process,” said Municipal Police Academy Director Frank Williar, welcoming cadets and their families to the graduation of Class 1402 on Nov. 12 in the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Science Center Theater. “We have an obligation to assist each other…to provide resources to each other. People who leave here come back.

Moments before, after 19 cadets filed on stage with military precision, Horsham Township Police Officer Kate Ryan came back to the academy from which she graduated with Class 1304 to introduce Williar, who in turn introduced the evening’s special guests: Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor Jr.; Dr. Aaron Shatzman, MCCC dean of Social Sciences; Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, MCCC vice president of academic affairs and provost; Jesse Stemple, first deputy director Montgomery County Department of Public Safety; East Norriton Police Chief Karyl Kates; East Norriton Police Lt. Brandon Pasquale; Lower Merion Police Superintendent Michael McGrath; North Coventry Police Chief Robert Schurr, Officers Andrew Thiel and Igor Parfeniouk, and Sgt. Rob Malason; and Springfield Police Chief Michael Pitkow.

Cadet SSgt. Anastasios Apostolidis called for a moment of silence for those in uniform, both military and law enforcement, who gave their lives in the line of duty.

North Coventry Police Officer Andrew Thiel, commander of Class 1302, came back to introduce Keynote speaker Whitemarsh Township Police Lt. Francis “Fran” Wheatley, who congratulated the cadets on enduring a long and demanding course of studies.

“As a police officer, you will be constantly under intense scrutiny, both on and off duty,” Wheatley warned. “You have chosen a career and will take an oath to lead by example for the rest of your lives.” He urged the cadets never to forget the discipline they learned at the academy. “You should embrace every opportunity to be the counselor, the social worker, the help desk  . . . the life-saver” roles beyond merely catching the bad guys that make the world a better place. “We are the peacekeepers who make sure that our communities are safe.”

Class Valedictorian Cadet Cpl. Sean Maguire of Jeffersonville told his classmates that “we step out of our secular lives into a life of service. We are the next generation of law enforcement, and we are strong.”

Upper Darby Township Police Officer Laina Stevens, commander of Class 1304 and the winner of the 2012-2014 Outstanding Academy Cadet award, introduced Castor, who returns to address the graduating classes every chance he gets. Police officers, he told the cadets “are not just people. They are symbols of a free society. If you attack one of them, you are attacking all of us. You cannot enjoy any of the things you love to do if you are afraid. And that is not the promise of America.”

Class 1402 Cadet Lt. Brett Burns was honored for his leadership. “Brett stamped his personality on the class,” Williar said. “You left some big shoes to fill.”

Burns presented the Director’s Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Cpl. Ryan Cifelli of Chalfont, and congratulated Cadet Joseph “Joey” Metzinger on his acceptance to the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.

Cadet David Arredondo of Stockton, Calif., won the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award in memory of the Upper Dublin police sergeant who died in a motor vehicle accident in the line of duty in 2004.

Robin Pritchett introduced the second annual Charles O. “Chip” Pritchett Exceptional Police Academy Instructor of the Year Award, named in honor of her husband, an East Norriton police officer and Municipal Police Academy deputy director who died in October 2013, and read the name of the second recipient: North Coventry Police Chief Robert A. Schurr.

“We miss him every day,” Schurr said, of Pritchett. “I’m humbled. And thank you.”

Dr. Bastecki-Perez conferred diplomas on Cadets Lt. Brett Burns, Abington; SSgt. Anastasio Apostolidis, Abington; Sgt. Joseph Metzinger, Rockledge; Sgt. Dylan Royce, Schwenksville; Cpl. Kelly Adams, Newtown; Cpl. Josué Gerena, Philadelphia; Cpl. Sean Maguire, Jeffersonville; Cpl. Branden Sisca, Trappe; David Arredondo, Stockton, Calif.; Ryan Cifelli, Chalfont; John Davis, Douglassville; Colleen Harner, Glenside; Marc Laing, Trappe; Christopher Miller, Gilbertsville; Aamir Raza, Warrington; Kevin Siebert, Oreland; John Smart, Bensalem; Steffy Shane, Perkiomenville; Cadet Kyle Williamson, Montgomeryville.

No doubt, many of the graduates will return to speak at future graduations and to assist their successors.

Lt. Burns passed the torch to his own successor, Lt. Brian Manion, Class 1404, completing the continuity inherent in the ceremony. Manion’s classmates provided an honor guard throughout the graduation.

Cadets from class 1402 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday, for 22 weeks, alternating studies with physical conditioning, as Maguire put it, “running and more running.”

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.

The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

Hazleton PA and Pottstown PA By The Numbers

Reading the City of Hazleton’s 2015 Proposed Budget got me thinking about spending and waste.  These two towns are a good comparison because of population, ethnic diversity, demographics and even physical size.  Pottstown’s budget is more than 4 times are large as Hazleton’s, so here are some numbers to ponder courtesy of http://www.CityData.com:

 

Population:

Hazleton (2012) 25,224

Pottstown (2012) 22,480

 

Races:

Hazleton –

  • White alone – 14,580 (57.9%)
  • Hispanic – 9,717 (38.6%)
  • Black alone – 422 (1.7%)

Pottstown –

  • White alone – 15,377 (68.7%)
  • Black alone – 4,147 (18.5%)
  • Hispanic – 1,785 (8.0%)

 

Physical size (land area):

Hazleton is 5.97 square miles

Pottstown is 4.83 square miles

 

Crime rate – U.S. average = 296.6:

Hazleton (2012) 306.3

Pottstown (2012) 434

 

Police Department size:

Hazleton – 38 officers, hiring 10 new police officers built in the $9.3 million proposed budget (they think they have a crime problem).

Pottstown -46 officers, (they don’t think they have a crime problem)

 

Unemployment:

Hazleton – July 2013, 12.8%

Pottstown – July 2013, 6.7%

 

Population density:

Hazleton – 4,222 people per square mile

Pottstown – 4,655 people per square mile

 

Municipal Budget:

Hazleton – $9.3 million (2015 Proposed budget)

Pottstown – $44.8 million (2015 Proposed budget)

 

Cost of living index:

Hazleton – 95.3 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

Pottstown – 103.7 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

 

Average home value:

Hazleton – $93,389 (2012)

Pottstown – $134,796 (2012)

 

Average rent:

Hazleton – Median gross rent in 2012: $631

Pottstown – Median gross rent in 2012: $762

 

Estimated median household income:

Hazleton – $30,492 (2012)

Pottstown – $41,864 (2012)

 

Registered sex offenders:

Hazleton – there were 10 registered sex offenders living in Hazleton, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Pottstown – there were 49 registered sex offenders living in Pottstown, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Murder Victims’ Relatives, Law Enforcement Officials Meet In McKeesport

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McKeesport residents, city and Allegheny County police officials took a step toward building a better relationship at a meeting about unsolved murders.

Booker T. Washington Lodge 281 along Walnut Street, commonly known as the McKeesport Elks Club, was packed on Thursday evening with friends and relatives of victims of violent crimes.

“It’s a start and it’s a beginning,” said Latoya Wright. “We still have a long road to go, but I do believe that if this happens more often and the solutions that were given today are taken care of, then I believe more things will start to happen in the city.”

Wright’s daughter’s father, Carlos Napper, died after being shot outside the Elks Club on July 14, 2007. He was 30 and his case remains unsolved.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6029311-74/police-mckeesport-county#ixzz30ZyUwadN
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Ex-Scranton Police Chief To Be Added To Wilkes-Barre Force

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The city police department will bring on experienced police officers next month when new hires are added to the force.

Among the candidates are Mark Hilpp, a former city officer and director of the Public Safety Training Institute at Luzerne County Community College, and former Scranton Police Chief Daniel Duffy, who also is director of the Police Academy at Lackawanna College.

Hilpp was listed at the top of the list of the 50 people on the certified hiring list released Jan. 17 by the city’s police civil service commission. Duffy was third.

Hilpp could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1164031/Ex-Scranton-police-chief-to-be-added-to-W-B-force

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Mayor Holds Line On Taxes, Raises His Own Salary In Proposed Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA – Mayor Tom Leighton proposed a $42.7 million 2014 budget Friday without any tax or fee hikes, a raise for himself and funding to hire additional police officers.

“My goal is to hire at least 10 new officers in 2014, but we will closely monitor the strength of city finances to hire as many officers as the general fund can afford,” Leighton said during his budget presentation at city hall.

Unionized city employees will receive a 3 percent raise. Leighton’s salary also will increase 3 percent for 2014 to $82,309.

Leighton, who is serving in his third term as mayor, said he has not taken a raise for the last seven years amid financial woes

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/mayor-holds-line-on-taxes-raises-his-own-salary-in-proposed-budget-1.1567278

Harrisburg’s Interim Police Chief Talks Reallocation Of Officers, New Hires During Public Safety Hearing

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harrisburg‘s interim police chief reiterated his passion for community policing during a panel discussion on public safety Thursday held by Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Papenfuse.

During the discussion, Chief Thomas Carter provided further details regarding the plan he presented earlier this week alongside Mayor Linda Thompson to dissolve several specialty police units in order to beef up the city’s overworked regular patrol.  Under the plan, 17 officers from groups such as the traffic and street crimes units will be pulled from the chief’s office to resume regular patrols, Carter said.

“We put them back into the fold,” the interim chief said.  “The basis of every strong police department is to have patrol officers out there to answer your calls, and we did not have that.”

Carter, who was appointed by Thompson after former Chief Pierre Ritter retired late last month, told the small audience at Thursday’s hearing that, while he believes such steps should have been taken as long as a year ago, he does not fault his predecessor for not making the call.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/harrisburgs_interim_police_chi.html#incart_m-rpt-2