Flanked by current and former police officers, including former Commissioners John Yerk, Eugene (Gene) Learn and Randy Miller, Bethlehem Mayoral candidate Bob Donchez played his strong card yesterday - public safety. At a news conference outside of West Bethlehem's satellite police station, he made very clear that "maintaining a safe city with secure neighborhoods and business districts will be my primary responsibility as Mayor."
Donchez, the son of the late and still remembered city detective John Donchez, was introduced by District Attorney John Morganelli and FOP President Wade Haubert.
|DA John Morganelli is Donchez' childhood friend|
Below is the text of Donchez' remarks concerning public safety.
As a lifelong resident of Bethlehem, and the son of the late city detective John J. Donchez, I know that maintaining a safe city with secure neighborhoods and business districts will be my primary responsibility as Mayor.
As I look at our great city and the promise that it continues to hold for our citizens, I am very aware of the vital role that public safety has played in our past success and growth and the significant role it will continue to play in the years to come. The services provided by our police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel are the key to public safety. By keeping our community safe, families are encouraged to stay, and new families are encouraged to move to Bethlehem. By maintaining a safe and clean city, old businesses remain and new ones are attracted to our community.
Public safety is a key component of economic development. A safe community encourages businesses to invest in your community which provides jobs and expands the city’s tax base.
The area of public safety is one which cannot be compromised as the health and well being of our citizens is of the utmost importance. To that end I would like to state my intention to maintain a strong and consistent approach where matters of public safety are concerned.
* An evaluation of staffing levels within all areas of public safety will be undertaken to ensure the full protection of our citizenry.I have consistently supported a community noted for its approach to maintaining law and order. As Mayor, I will continue to work to provide the citizens of Bethlehem with a safe and secure community in which to live and work.
* I will also immediately evaluate if personnel are being adequately deployed throughout the city among the various shifts.
* I will explore the possibility of making the Dewberry facility a joint EMS/Fire facility in order to provide additional public safety to the citizens in that area of the city.
* An evaluation of police, fire and EMS training programs and equipment needs will be undertaken immediately following my election in order to maintain professional skills and equipment at the highest levels.
Lots of current and former police
* It is important to increase the staffing and visibility of our police resources in our residential neighborhoods and business districts. I will examine the use of foot and bike patrols in various areas of the city.
* To facilitate effectiveness I will support the establishment of EMS as a separate department.
* I will continue to support the maintenance of Bethlehem’s separate 911 Communications Center, as it has proven its effectiveness in serving the citizens of our community.
* It is important to foster a cooperative relationship among the city police force and campus security at both Lehigh University and Moravian College. At all of the campuses, including Northampton Community College and East Stroudsburg University-Bethlehem Campus we must utilize today’s changing technology to promote the safety of the students who attend these schools and the citizens who live proximate to them.
* In order to provide the widest base of community support and to encourage the broadest range of ideas, I will consult with community and business leaders to explore public and private partnerships in the area of public safety.
* The city website will be revamped and interactive capabilities which will allow residents to receive public safety, and other alerts, will be a priority.