Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Plainfield Police Banned From School Patrols



This is as nutty as it gets. In the wake of the December 14 Newtown tragedy, in which a mentally unstable gunman senselessly slaughtered twenty innocent children and six adult educators, you'd think that authorities would be sensitive to the importance of a police presence at our local schools. Yet Plainfield Township Supervisors, in a March 28 memo to police officers, have banned them from any sort of patrols at the Wind Gap Middle School. They are only allowed there during bus times, "and only if an officer is available," or "if County 911 calls them and it is an emergency." Any police officer who fails to comply will be suspended or dismissed.

If anyone should be dismissed, it would certainly seem that it should be the Supervisors for issuing such an idiotic directive, which must be signed by all officers. I do not see this matter listed as a discussion on the March 28 agenda.. It certainly appears that the public was deprived of an opportunity to be heard. And since when do Supervisors decide where police should patrol? Shouldn't that decision be left to the professionals?

"Parents Take a Stand" has been formed in response to this memo, which is incredibly signed by all five Supervisors. At least 43 people have indicated they plan to attend tonight's 7 PM meeting of Supervisors at 6292 Sullivan Trail, and demand an explanation. According to the agenda, people who wish to speak must sign in and are limited to five minutes.

Attorney Kristin M. Harvey (Kunsman), one of the organizers of this effort, is the mother of a 5th grade student at the middle school. She observes,
"This directive is beyond rational explanation. The mandate ignores the fact that the School is located within the jurisdiction of the police department. It also ignores the multitude of reasons that a police officer might be required to be present at a facility within his jurisdiction. Finally, and most importantly, it ignores and threatens the safety of the 800 or so people, including children, in that building on a daily basis – the largest concentration of individuals in the township at any given time."
I'll be there, and let you know what happened.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie, what you think of the McClure endorsement by Bethlehem firefighters. The guys hate Callahan.

Anonymous said...

yeah. i'd hate him too. the bethlehem firefighters had a sweet set-up until callahan came along. you know-things like when they called in sick, they didn't actually have to be sick. they could do things like go out and get drunk. callahan changed that.

i'd be pissed too, if i were a firefighter, because he didn't have my back. that bastard-hate it when electeds serve the interests of the taxpayers pver the interests of the imbedded govt sector unioons.

Anonymous said...

This is how they conduct their business Bernie. They micro manage every detail of Twsp. life. There is no business manager or mayor to run the police dept. so they issue edicts such as this. What a mess. The school district is also part of the problem here as they will not totally pay for building security either so the fight goes on in the press. The Twsp. pulled their resource officer in the fall already because they lacked the funding to pay him anymore. He was funded by a now expired grant. Bangor school district has their own security forces..Pen Argyl SD does not make that a priority and has no security force in house except that the schools in the town of Pen Argyl do have walk thru's by town police as they can be there.

Anonymous said...

The school district had a free ride for many years and now they are trying to drum up public support by blaming the township for lack of security. This is not a new story..they have been feuding about this issue for several months now. The school needs to make a commitment to security and safety but won't spend the money.

Anonymous said...

Pen Argyl had the money to hire a teacher to teach Chinese but no money for security. Go figure..

Uncle Remus said...

well said 5:55

he did the same with the cops. He took the cushy perks away from them and saved a lot of money.

cry baby union pukes

Anonymous said...

The respective police chief in this mix is also another sub plot. A compromise is possible on funding an officer to be placed at the middle school but animosity runs deep in the Slate Belt communities. Nobody trusts anyone at this point

Anonymous said...

This again is the problem with local politics in Pennsylvania. Idiots and those who are failures in their own lives both personal and work populate these Boards. In the aftermath of Newtown, this directive is so absurd that it is almost criminal. The Plainfield Township Board of Supervisors has now telegraphed to all would be nuts that there is no real Police protection at that school. They have also put the safety and well being of the students on the line by not allowing their Officers to patrol that school when the officers believe it necessary. They have also made it perfectly clear that their budget and egos are more important than the safety and well being of those children.

Immediate unconditional resignations of each and every so called Supervisor is needed now. Tonight, each one should resign. This is a massive failure and a pure demonstration of incompetence to a level that only resignation is the appropriate answer. These people that sit on this Board have shown a degree if ignorance and failure to lead that is unprecendented in this area.

Anonymous said...

The school district is equally culpable. They have both failed their respective communities and children. Careful where you lay blame. A solution is possible here..

Anonymous said...

Plainfield is no different than any other semi rural township in this area or the state. Diminishing revenues have caught up to them and they need to tighten their belt to deal with this new reality. It is a struggle and somehow they must do whatever it takes to rein in spending. They have been offered ways to do this and have refused to change their tune..now this. Hard times have arrived.

Anonymous said...

The WM garbage money is drying up. How about this..sell off a few police cruisers and downsize the police force and then you'll have enough money to semi protect the middle school.

Anonymous said...

There are progressive people on the board in Plainfield but they are minority voices at this point. Time for the voters to have their say on who governs them and protects their property and children.

Anonymous said...

Hire a business manager as a start and stop trying to solve every little issue at meetings that last til midnight. It ain't rocket science!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hey Bernie, what you think of the McClure endorsement by Bethlehem firefighters. The guys hate Callahan."

This post is about a lack of police protection for Plainfield Tp kids.

Anonymous said...

Police patrol communities, not individual buildings in those communities. Unless the school district is willing to pay for an officer to be in a school, one shouldn't be there for anything beyond responding to calls.

It sounds like the school district, which doesn't even pay local property taxes, wants free security for their schools.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The school district had a free ride for many years and now they are trying to drum up public support by blaming the township for lack of security. This is not a new story..they have been feuding about this issue for several months now. The school needs to make a commitment to security and safety but won't spend the money."

Does the school have a police force? This has nothing to do with a SRO strolling the halls and everything to do with a township's basic obligation to keep its citizens safe. Why bother have any government at all it unwilling to provide this basic service?

Anonymous said...

Plainfield had a chance to save nearly a quarter of a million dollars by joining a regional police initiative. They walked away from it and now here we are. No money for a security officer. Time to vote people out of office.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The school district is equally culpable. They have both failed their respective communities and children. Careful where you lay blame. A solution is possible here.."

This has nothing to do with the school district. Whether it has a school resource officer is a separate and distinct issue. This is about a township's basic obligation to do its job. I cover two townships, and have never seen such a ridiculous edict issued. Township officials should not inject themselves into these matters and should allow police officers do the job they were hired to do.

Anonymous said...

The Pen Argyl school district has NO police/security of their own.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Plainfield had a chance to save nearly a quarter of a million dollars by joining a regional police initiative. They walked away from it and now here we are. No money for a security officer. Time to vote people out of office. "

Like I said, the township has a basic obligation to provide security and that should certainly include routine patrols, as decided by the Chief, not them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The Pen Argyl school district has NO police/security of their own"

I am sure most township residents and businesses have no security of their own, either. Should the township ignore them as well for that reason? Your argument is completely illogical. A township has a basic obligation to keep its citizenry safe. What on earth is wrong with you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There are progressive people on the board in Plainfield but they are minority voices at this point."

The ridiculous memo above is signed by EVERY Supervisor.

Anonymous said...

As I said..a solution is possible here and both parties should sit down and talk sanely about the issue. Divide the cost of a security officer and work out the details. Edicts only inflame the situation and protect no one. It should not have come to this but it has. Please fix this security gap asap.

Anonymous said...

all we are looking for is to have the police be able to do a walk thru the school once a day if there is a officer available so that there is a presence and that the kids feel safe and protected.

Anonymous said...

we aren't asking for a full time offier or to get the SRO back, we fought that battle and lost.

Anonymous said...

Evidently..no one had the guts to go against the others when push came to shove.

Anonymous said...

Sub plot..School and twsp. police chief had worked out a deal to do walk thru's as in the town of Pen Argyl but the board got wind of it and evidently got mad that they were not consulted or asked for their approval. Thus the edict is also retaliatory in nature.

Anonymous said...

Animosity runs all thru this story as the relationship between the twsp. board and the police chief and the officers is strained to the point of breaking. Behind closed doors..

Anonymous said...

Seems a reasonable request above if that is all that is being asked for.

Anonymous said...

When employee's refuse to pee in the cup..you got issues.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:14, That may be, and i sense there is another message hidden in that memo somewhere. But that is no excuse for putting children in harm's way and failing to perform the most basic service that exists for government, i.e. basic rudimentary security for the township's own children. How nutty can they be?

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:20, Is that a justification for putting children in harm's way? Are you nutz?

Anonymous said...

I agree..tip of the iceberg..

Anonymous said...

It does not justify a thing.

Anonymous said...

Regionalization was an option several times, but no matter what, it falls back on the taxpayers to foot the bill. Plainfield residents would not have saved much of anything, yet would have had to house a logical Police Station, and been required to see potentially less presence by their own officers.

This is a self-centered, oh look what I can do, Power trip by Jane Mellert and Steve Hurni, who both for years, threw gas on the fire that there were too many officers, spending too much on the Police budget, etc. Yet, Jane Mellert in her first term as Supervisor, hired almost half of the number of officers that we have. Guess she wasn't smart enough to see saving money back then would have helped today.

She chooses to spend monies not budgeted, but I guess that's ok. Where was the money for the private investigator budgeted. How about the money to test the streams that are governed by the State of Pennsylvania and not Plainfield? How about the t-shirts for a supposed 250th anniversary, that they still have a year later? Seems like hypocracy to me!

Anonymous said...

The savings were substantial and in writing in relation to the police regionalization. Mellert and Hurni wanted it..they lost. Your majority representatives have done a disservice to you.

Carol said...

Morning Bernie, I am not familiar with the codes of a township, just the Boro, but I would assume their primary responsibility as with the Boro is the safety and well being of their community. The Plainfield police force are trained police officers, not politicians, I am not trying to demean the supervisors, but it is incumbent upon anyone in that capacity to spend time learning the importance of how the department is run, including constant training, the number of incidents, and the list goes on and on. It is easy to say the township could have saved 1/4 million dollars by going regional, there are a zillion aspects of joining regional that effect those decisions. Perhaps, the school and the township could split the cost of the situation. There is no dollar amount to equal just one of our youngsters. Carol

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hi Carol, Whether the Township should spring for a SRO is another matter for another day. This is a much more basic question of security.

Anonymous said...

Offers of help have been rebuffed by your board..in the name of what? Isolationism is not a sustainable theme anymore. good luck explaining this one.

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer I'm shocked that any eleted body would make this decision let alone put it in writing.

Time for Plainfield to hire a manager and let the supervisors set policy.

This is stupidity at its worst!

Clinton Oxford said...

There was never any need for "security" at school's, when we had an armed populace & a 1 room school-house. We were a Community! Now,....we are a "Bedroom Community" lived in by out-of-towner's. Putting Armed Guard's-in-School's is a counter-intuitive action that will only be made abundantly clear AFTER a child is harmed. We are teaching our children "Integrity-by-Force", rather than removing Predators from the Populace. Most children are Latchkey Kids nowadays, with career occupational parents. Iphone's, Facebook & Video Games, are the Real teacher's of children nowaday's. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Everything was fine when the money was flowing like a river from Grand Central. Those days are nearly over and ending soon. Spending like a drunken sailor must end. Time to be prudent and get your house in order for the future. Reality is knocking at the door..

Anonymous said...

Lamenting the past is not the answer. You got to deal with the here and now as best you can. Corporations are protected..why not the children?

Anonymous said...

Would you feel the same Clinton.if your daughter had been killed at Newtown? Answer truthfully now..

Anonymous said...

AGAIN this is NOT about having a full time armed policeman at the school..but simply asking that they be allowed to partol the school so that our children feel safe and to have access without the threat of being fired or suspended..

Clinton Oxford said...

The children are not protected because the Judiciary is soft on Sexual Predation during sentencing. No "Clear" messages are sent to society regarding acceptable Adult behavior while co-mingling with innocence. Shall we blame Al Gore for creating the Internet, or the Immature Parent's that that allow unfettered access to impressionable young mind's? Responsibility starts from within.

Anonymous said...

Yes..that is the minimum that should be expected from the township. At least it shows the kids that the police are available and they are not totally on their own and thus defenseless.

Clinton Oxford said...

@"Anonymous said...
Would you feel the same Clinton.if your daughter had been killed at Newtown? Answer truthfully now. 9:47 AM"

Unanswerable hypothetical senario. A persons knowledge base is dependent upon their respective experience's in life. We were civil defense Armorers. We did not fear predator's. We shot them! I would look to Violent Video Games, as the source of children's aggression. They are being influenced by violenct gore irreprably. Lack-of-Parental Responsibility is the problem with society today. Not a lack of lethal force. Does that answer you question? Please have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Philosophy does not work. You either protect what is precious or not. Accepting the current conditions..I want a trained gun between a potential killer and my child if at all possible until the prevailing conditions change. Do we need culture change? Obviously we do and I agree on that issue. But until that change comes..i want child protection and will pay for it..gladly.

Anonymous said...

its not about a resource officer or armed officer in the school. the police are just stopping at the school to walk through it because it IS in their township. it doesnt cost anything because the police are already on duty. its unbelievable that the supervisors think they can tell police how to do their jobs. they should all be forced off the board



Anonymous said...

It is..a power struggle..pure and simple. The board is evidently trying to exercise their control over the police department. Thing is..they chose the wrong issue to try to do that. This is not the issue to flex your muscles over. Not very smart and a deal breaker politically.

Clinton Oxford said...

Basically, the memo looks like Officer's were required to sign, in recognition of the Policy change for effective administration & effectuation unilaterally of Policy.....It's like signing for your Orientation Package that claim's that you Know & Understand it's content's. Yeah, it's just like that.

Isn't a Mayor the Commandant of the Peace Officer/Police Force? Does the Constitution provide for an Alternate Power Command Structure for Peace Officer's?
Are they Certified Marksmen? You get what you're willing to pay for. Our children deserve the Best!

Anonymous said...

As i said..two entities involved here..township and school district at loggerheads.

Anonymous said...

Uh, the police work for citizens who are represented by the board. Taxpayers are the boss. The school district is ultimately responsible for its students safety. Discussions should have taken place before getting this far. The school district is in control here. They're letting politics trump student safety.

Anonymous said...

No one seems to be in charge of the Twsp. police. There is no mayor and very little oversight. The board should have the bravado to fire these people if they won't toe the line instead of this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Lamont McClure on his Bethlehem firefighters endorsement for Northampton County
Executive.

Clinton Oxford said...

School Broard's listen to Student Involvement....like placard's & "quiet assembly" ;-)

Route 512 would make a perfect gauntlet for a show-of-solidarity for quietly assembled student's & concerned alike....during Rush Hour.

Anonymous said...

Again..when your employee's thumb their noses at you..you got problems. Plainfield has problems.

Anonymous said...

This is only about an officer walking through the school, come on?

Do the cops walk through every other building that requests it? Or is it just because there are kids there?

What if a Chucky Cheese opens in the township, or a movie theater. Should the cops walk through those buildings as well? How about Dorney Park in SWT? Lots of kids there who need protecting too, but SWT officers don't patrol there (although they do respond to calls).

Bottom line is that inside the walls, the school is responsible for student safety.

Clinton Oxford said...

If this is a Money Problem, then everyone showing-up @ the meeting tonight should have a fat wallet....and Problem solved. Otherwise, we are broke & in Denial. Taxes are Paid to render services to influxing populations whom have no regard for local mores or civility. Their children are Brat's running amok. So we need "security" from them....not "us"

Clinton Oxford said...

What is the concentration of Megan's Law registrant's, in the School Zone? Check the website.

monkey momma said...

So, is this really about shifting the financial burden of security to the school district rather than the township's police department? Either way, the taxpayer foots the bill.

Why is it just the middle school that is singled out here? I am not familiar with the area. What about the other schools in the district?

Tonight's meeting ought to be very entertaining, that's for sure.

monkey momma said...

I just read (on the Parents Take a Stand Facebook page) that Plainfield Township has removed the links to the township meetings' minutes for a few prior months. These happen to be the meetings where the security officer issue was discussed. Interesting, huh?

Anonymous said...

@ Monkey momma
This is not about any finacial issues all we are looking for is to have the police be able to do a walk thru the middle school once a day if there is a officer available so that there is a presence and that the kids feel safe and protected.
The Pen Argyl police try to have a officer walk thru the high school on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

I believe the meeting is being cancelled because the issue is now moot. Senators Toomey and Manchin have proposed bipartisan background checks and other cool stuff in response to Newtown that should eliminate future school shootings. Problem solved. Everybody got worked up over nothing.

Anonymous said...

where did you hear meeting was being cancelled? the meeting is still listed on the website.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I intend to be there. Do not be fooled by an anonymous comment attempting to steer you away.

Anonymous said...

Newtown, Newtown... what don't people understand. Whether it cost a few bucks is not the answer anymore. Police are needed in our schools!! Good Grief.

Anonymous said...

With that theory, police are required at shopping malls (oregon), movie theatres (colorado) and grocery stores (arizona).
Newtown was bad, but for crying out loud, by using a municipal officer in the school for 9 months, do the supervisors get to lay him off for the other 3?
And what about the other two schools in the district? Why is WGMS so special?

Clinton Oxford said...

Guns do not create an aura/atmosphere conducive to learning. Children whom lived with guns, respected guns. Children who play video games....see guns as such. Parents are the first line-of-defense. We only become irrelevant when we ALLOW ourselves to become so. It will be a National Tragedy after the first "Friendly Fire" incident involving a Peace Officer & a Child.
Then What?

Anonymous said...

These helicopter parents will go to this meeting, call alot of people alot of names, instead of having civil discussion and attempting to see the motives of the supervisors. Their poor kids... What will happen when they go off to HS and again have no officer on duty all day? Will they march on Pen Argyl Council. Then on to college.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing the level of ignorance when people are bringing up any issue other than the one at hand, whether the police are permitted to do a walk through of a location within their jurisdiction, while conducting routine patrol. This has nothing to do with a school resource officer being redeployed or any other issue.

The five supervisors should be held personally responsible for any act of violence that occurs at the middle school since their directive has had the practical effect of putting a target on the middle school as a gun free zone where police are forbidden to patrol. Hold these supervisors accountable and boot them out of office!

They are using students and teachers as pawns in a power play. This goes far beyond any budget concern. They have created a dangerous situation by their actions. Parents should protest and keep their kids out of school on a chosen day as protest.

Anonymous said...

Wake up Plainfield taxpayers. Why in the world do you have 13 police officers on your payroll? That is insane. Read the memo above..all of the police are named on it. What are you allowing these representatives do in your name? Get out the vote or open your wallets.

Anonymous said...

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/hunterdon-county/express-times/index.ssf/2013/04/police_no_longer_welcome_at_fl.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot!

Anonymous said...

Oh really? As an employee myself, I would love for you to elaborate on your comment! Inbred!

Anonymous said...

Shut up and go back to jersey! Moron

Anonymous said...

Get a job trailer trash!

Anonymous said...

You sound like the nutball from pen argyl who's kids suck at basketball! Blasi=mental health commitment!!

Anonymous said...

Name calling always solves everything.