Northampton Press

Friday, July 20, 2018

Bath Borough picks state police

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by BILL LEINER JR. Special to The Press in Local News

Council will seek early withdrawal from contract with Colonial Regional

A special meeting of Bath Borough Council was held Sept. 5 to allow residents and council members one final chance to question Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) about the services it can provide to them and their community.

Ed Murphy and Craig Rodriguez, lieutenants from Troop M, Bethlehem barracks, were present to answer questions.

Bath Fire Chief Emilio DeNisi opened the meeting, asking them if state police could provide traffic control at the borough’s numerous community events. Murphy responded state police would not supply traffic control, nor would officers be responsible for street closings.

Council member Carol Bear-Heckman asked if PSP would enforce parking problems. Murphy said PSP does not enforce illegal parking.

“We do not enforce violations of ordinances,” Murphy said, adding, however, “If it is a motor vehicle code violation, we will enforce.”

Council member Cynthia Anderson asked how police calls are prioritized.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Murphy said. “If a break-in occurs with an actor present, (it) will take precedent over a vandalism call.”

Murphy said crime data will be available to the borough leaders, so they can evaluate the effectiveness should council decide to appoint PSP.

Mayor Fiorella Reginelli-Mirabito asked about school coverage for the two elementary schools in Bath — George Wolf and Sacred Heart. Rodriguez responded there will be daily coverage at the start of the school day.

After the questions ended, Murphy said, “Drug enforcement will occur with uniformed and nonuniformed officers. The PSP has resources (and) expertise. We bring a lot of things smaller departments simply cannot do.”

The regularly scheduled council meeting directly followed the special meeting. At the regular meeting, council voted unanimously to allow PSP to provide police services.

Reached after the meeting, Reginelli-Mirabito said council is hoping for approval of an early withdrawal request from Colonial Regional Police Department (CRPD) that would end their relationship in December 2017. If an early departure is not granted by the CRPD Commission, Bath will exit the CRPD relationship in December 2018.

Reginelli-Mirabito said she tried to work with the other members of the commission, but she received little cooperation to keep Bath in CRPD.

“My requests all fell on deaf ears,” she said. “It makes me very, very disappointed and sad.”

Reginelli-Mirabito said, however, she will work with PSP to have the best police services possible for the borough.