Jul 28, 2014

Nazareth Interested in Palmer Township for Police Coverage

Nazareth Borough Council will revisit the option of contracting police services from a neighboring municipality. And Palmer Township is on its list.

Nazareth Interested in Palmer Township for Police Coverage

Nazareth Borough wants an outside source to provide police services, and will ask six municipalities -- including Palmer Township -- to provide a proposal detailing the services available.

Nazareth Borough Council on Monday unanimously approved a motion to send a “Request for Proposal” to Upper Nazareth, Bushkill and Palmer townships. Colonial Regional Police, and each municipality that makes up the department, will also be included.

Nazareth Mayor Fred Daugherty Jr. in December 2011 withdrew his recommendation to buy coverage from Colonial Regional Police after negotiations failed to move forward.

This time around, the borough has guidelines it would like each municipality to keep in mind:

  • Three-year contract at a cost not to exceed $2.8 million.
  • The borough’s three full-time officers must be added to the police department of the contracting municipality with wages and benefits at least equal to the current Nazareth police contract.

    Police Chief -- $67,830
    Patrolman (over 6 years) -- $59,660
    Patrolman (after 4 years) -- $55,979
  • The contracting municipality must agree to lease and operate a substation at 134 S. Main St.
  • The contracting municipality agrees to periodic foot patrols in the business district and business checks.
  • Nazareth Borough Council shall be permitted to appoint a liaison to attend all Police Committee meetings and receive all correspondence.

The deadline to reply is Dec. 31.

The decision to dig deeper into the option of contracting police services, according to Council President Dan Chiavaroli, was made after merger talks led to a dead end.

Korine Behler, a Nazareth resident who recently has been outspoken on the ongoing policing issue, tried to understand why Council isn’t interested in rebuilding the Nazareth Borough Police Department.

“I think [Police Chief Thomas Trachta is] perfectly capable of making a run of it,” Behler said. “Give him a year. Give him a say with who he’s hiring. I think that should be a big part of it. Is there something I’m missing? Why isn’t [rebuilding the borough’s department] an option? I don’t understand.”

Marlene Stanat echoed Behler’s sentiment. 

“Why can’t we just strengthen our own police department,” she wondered. “Our police department is trying to give us coverage. Why rely on other people when we have a police department that’s capable?... We need people who know us. We need people who know the circumstances of Nazareth and know what’s happening in Nazareth. What does [Palmer Township] know about us?” 

Councilman Jack Herbst, who is also the chairman of Council's Police Committee, admitted that it remains to be seen if contracting services will save the borough money.

“At this point in time, we don’t know if it will save us money or not,” Herbst said. “It depends on the proposals we get back. Once we get the proposals, we will see what is best for the community.” 

If contracting services doesn’t work out, the councilman -- prompted by Behler -- stopped short of saying his colleagues would revisit the idea of rebuilding the borough’s department. 

Herbst said, “If it comes back that the services aren’t what we want, then…”

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