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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Great Jail Raid: Much Ado About Nothing

Let's say you're a bad guy, someone who smuggles contraband into Northampton County Jail, either as a corrections officer or as a visitor. The last day you'd do this would be on a Wednesday, when jail staffing is at its highest, and everyone is crawling over each other. Yet that's precisely the day that NorCo Corrections Director Dan Keen chose for a surprise shakedown. Over the course of six and a half hours, 79 state corrections officers and 14 K-9 dogs searched every inch of the place. And found nothing. A dog and pony show that afternoon created the false impression that drugs had been found in two cells and a locker, but District Attorney John Morganelli confirmed on Thursday that the massive search had yielded nothing worthy of his attention.

All they found were lots of autographed pictures of me!

Basically, state taxpayers wasted about $40,000 in wages and salaries for a wild goose chase. I'm sure state investigators will come right away the next time Keen cries "Wolf!"

Just so you know, there's no doubt in my mind that there really is a contraband ring inside the jail, as there is in nearly every jail. But instead of letting professionals look into the matter, Executive John Brown listened to Cathy Allen, a Deputy Director of Administration with absolutely no experience or education in corrections or criminal investigation. She conducted her own investigation, developed her own stoolies, persuaded Brown to hire Keen and then arranged with Keen for this sweep, which was doomed to failure from the start.

Keen had assured everyone there would be tons of drugs and cellphones .But he picked the worst day possible in a sign of naivete and inexperience that have become Brown trademarks.

Morganelli, who actually has gone through a few of these, could have told them they are wasting their time and our tax dollars. "It's hard to get into a locked down facility," he explained, noting that word always gets out.

On Thursday, when it became clear that no drugs or criminal contraband had been found, Keen stopped taking questions from The Express Times.

There's a rumor that about eight corrections officers were escorted out of the jail last week, but nothing has been referred to Morganelli for prosecution.

Updated 12:13 am: Morganelli told The Morning Call's Riley Yates that this search was "like the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." Keen has apologized for any "miscommunication" when he asserted that drugs had been found in two cells as well as someone's locker. Jail inmates were apparently strip-searched.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keen was flapping his gums hot and heavy until nothing was found. Brownie needs 9 more Cathy Allens to create the equivalent of one employee - that's the problem. She's working at 1/10 the capacity of a normal person. Give er yet another raise!

Anonymous said...

If no contraband, drugs or weapons were found, then it could be assumed that the guards and their system works. The inspection just confirmed that they are doing a good job. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

No!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think it is safe to say they are doing a good job until Keen can produce hard evidence they are not. The only evidence I have seen is a search conducted on what he should have known was the wring day of the week, followed by a "miscommunication" about what was found. He was doing Cathy Allen's budding instead of his job.

Anonymous said...

There was a report of finding extra or unauthorized bedding. Kind of like having a pool table in your community. I hear they are going to set new standards. Next time they'll find towels.

Anonymous said...

Nice waste of $40,000. You can see council questioning Brown about this in a meeting, and Brown sitting there like a stone. When pressed, he'd finally say "I'm not going to comment on this ongoing investigation." Then Kraft would ask "WHAT investigation???" When Brown does eventually comment, it will be some bullshit like "Due to intelligence, we developed a coordinated plan to take advantage of scale and synergies, and executed it perfectly under my appointee Dan Keen's command. This is the kind of successful incubator my assistant Cathy Allen is instrumental in crafting. I wish I had 10 more Cathy Allens on my team."

Anonymous said...

Another bungling mess by the Clown administration. They couldn't get wet by falling out of a boat. If Allen was involved then you know that it was doomed to fail from the start. She is an incompetent boob with a massive ego. But what the heck. Just give her another raise. She is the new Inspector Closeau of the county. Her new title warrants another 14% raise, county paid Town Car lease and preffered parking in a converted handicapped space outside the courthouse. That way she will not be wasting her valuable time walking too far to her office. She needs that time to ponder more crackpot schemes and to hire more hare-brained consultants.

Anonymous said...

Word was they found cell phones which is a no-no and could be used for dangerous activities. Stop using every opportunity to attack Brown. At the prison he inherited a real mess. It was ignored for the past eight years. Brown is sending a message that things are being tightened up.

This is exactly what should have been done in the past.

Anonymous said...

FYI because of low staffing levels, short over 30 officers, Wednesday's are no longer at high staff levels. The prison is short staffed every day of the week. As for Keen, he is starting to be liked very well at the jail. If he gets rid of bad officers, that's great. He finally wants to do what this administration has been falling to do and that's taking this prison back from the inmates. That have run the prison for too long.

Anonymous said...

3:33. Take your drug cocktail pig lady, nothing was found and no charges are pending. Just think of all the pig food you could have bought with 40 grand

Anonymous said...

Your hate and venom knows no boundaries. At some point Brown "slighted" your ego, and made you go through same process for getting info that everyone else has to do...and now he is forever enemy number one. Ron Angle wants the controller spot to break into confidential files, to then spew it all onto this hate blog. Its sad to see an O'Hare bed buddy running for office for no other reason than to exploit county taxpayers in favor of a hate column of daily lies.

Anonymous said...

There's more to this case that hasn't been revealed. A large number of guards are dirty. Stay tuned.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And this determination comes from the same people who scheduled that raid? Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Geez....Did Mezzacrappa show up in a cell? If not that's where she belongs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Word was they found cell phones which is a no-no "

They did not. This statement is an outright lie.

Anonymous said...

A number of Brown ass-kissers have tried to sugar coat this farce. They are dependent on him for their jobs. Inspector Closeau Allen is desperate to find a way to justify her obscene pay raises. So she and Keen cooked up this jailhouse joke. Her next move is to go undercover as an inmate to sniff out contraband. She can then add "Inmate Snitch" to her resume to justify another raise.

Anonymous said...

People being gunned down in the streets and they are worried about drugs in the prison? When will these war on drugs clowns ever learn and stop wasting money?

Anonymous said...

Those officers do a damn good job. For once...just once can you you give them the credit they deserve? Or maybe next time your inspection comes around they won't work so hard to get you a 100%. Bunch of ungrateful bast*rds!

Anonymous said...

There are no secrets at the jail. Everyone knows what is happening and going to happen before it does happen. Was it a waste of money? Your guess is as good as mine. No mention of the W. Easton facility. Was it also searched?

Anonymous said...

Trying to justify the hiring of Keen by Brown is the real story here. Another swipe at the staff also who are all in a dangerous environment and who are stressed out already due to lack of staff and now this stupid search mission. Brown is no friend of working people in this county. Totally misguided leadership on display.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"No mention of the W. Easton facility. Was it also searched?"

That will be next Wednesday. Don't tell anyone. It's a secret. Keen is pretty sure that the WMDs manufactured by Hussein are hidden there, along with Jimmy Hoffa's body.

Anonymous said...

In West Easton they will find a contraband Baby Ruth bar. Oh wait...

Anonymous said...

The Brotherhood/Sisterhood will prevail. Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

Cathy Allen's attempt at union busting just failed!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Put simply, this was a complete waste of taxpayer time and taxpayer money by people who have an agenda but no other real qualifications. Keen picked the worst possible day of the week on which to conduct a raid and has been all-too-willing to listen to an uneducated person who has no knowledge of jails or any thing else related to county government. Then he attempted to claim falsely that drugs were found. So now I question his integrity.

Anonymous said...

Integrity? This is the Brown administration we're talking about. They are the laughing stock of the entire State. The county deserves more than this..better than this. I just want to retch in disgust.

Anonymous said...

A dog hit on a locker of a guard who is not currently working, but suspected of supplying coke and weed. They were a day late and a dollar short. Always a good idea to demonstrate control, though. Dogs and handlers also get needed training hours in a real life environment. It is a prison, after all.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And nothing was found. Since when does something that tenuous justify a false accusation of criminal behavior? This is something I would expect from an inmate, not a county official who has a duty to be honest. Also, we now are told this was good training? I could envision lots of training that would not cost taxpayers $40,000, to say nothing of the inconvenience to the public and the humiliation of strip searches.

Anonymous said...

Cathy Allen sounds like Harley Quinn pumping up "Mr J" to do more useless and hurtful nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea- fire that useless tool Allen and use the money to pay for a drug-sniffing dog to come through the jail at least once a month. Has got to be a lot cheaper than paying off one of Brown's cronies.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with you. The problem is that the bungling idiots that have allowed the situation to get so bad in the first place are still there meanwhile the good people quit in disgust or are forced out. Why are Buskirk (sold a pistol to a former inmate who was still on parole) and Crivelaro (had an underage drinking party) still there. Neither of them have the respect of the corrections officers. In fact popular opinion is they both should be resident of Hotel NCP

Anonymous said...

I don't know this Allen woman and I work at the prison but it sounds like she is a waste of tax payers money. Get rid of her and use her pay to pay a correctional officer. We are only thirty odd people short. What other place of employment could function adequately being that severely understaffed? I think we do an amazing job considering how many hours we work each week? Even when we don't want overtime we are forced to take it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm cerertain that Todd Buskirk has retired.

Anonymous said...

As mismanaged as everyone seems to feel NCP has been over the years, how many escapes have there been? How many abuse incidents? Major lawsuit findings? Very few if any for a jail that house over 600 inmates a day in less than modern conditions. It is easy to throw Buskirk, Myers, and others under the bus. But for a large county jail, sections of which are over 150 years old, to have relatively few incidents of mismanagement is a testimony to NCP administration and its correctional officers.

Anonymous said...

You are correct up to this point. Going forward it's all on Brownpants. He will leave his stain on the prison as he did the bangor police. Lord help us!

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:48, points well made.

Anonymous said...

"ssshhh...we're hunting wabbits!"

Anonymous said...

Vito,
Move JH from WE. Take to NJ.
Tony

Anonymous said...

When will the bumbling boobs leave the county so we can recover? Please someone run for office on the promise that the entire lot of them will be tossed out. Please, Please, PLEASE.

Anonymous said...

Leave? Brown is a duly elected person. You expect him to vacate his office voluntarily? He isn't done with us by a long stretch. He will make his political points at our expense and when the time is right..keep climbing the ladder he is on with the help of his rich friends. The county is just a stepping stone to bigger and better things. We are being used and abused for his own entertainment and personal gain. Elections have serious consequences. Live and learn.

Anonymous said...

But are they cracking down on all the gay sex within the prison walls?

Anonymous said...

...and of course, you have proof of that slanderous comment?

Anonymous said...

7:35........impeachment is a word

Anonymous said...

As a supporter of Brown I could not vote for him again. I can't vote for a democrat because I don't agree with their tax and spend policies so either I don't vote or we find a better republican to run against him.

Jeremy Bentham said...

As someone who has over 25 years of professional experience working in a variety of positions at all levels of the prison business, I find the ramblings of Bernie about Wednesday's jail raid incredibly naïve and offensive. Since when did Bernie become an expert on running a jail or shaking it down? Seriously, this guy is clueless.

To start with, anyone who has worked in the criminal justice system for any amount of time knows what Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling taught us (known as the "Schelling principle"), which is that the perfect threat is the one that never has to be carried out. Or to put the "Schelling principle" another way, a credible threat is stronger than its execution. Bernie laments that very little paraphernalia was discovered in Wednesday's raid, but misses the point that a credible deterrent threat was provided by the sweep. Criminologists refer to this as "general deterrence." Are we to believe it is a bad thing that little was discovered? This is a good thing, and speaks to how seriously Director Keen and the Brown administration view their role of a operating safe, secure, and contraband-free jail. How much that was actually discovered in Wednesday's sweep is in a real sense irrelevant. The larger point is that a clear deterrent message was sent to inmates, visitors, and employees contemplating bringing contraband into the jail in the future. This is good, core correctional practice!

Bernie mocks the idea that somebody would think to bring in contraband to the jail on this most secure day of lock-down, but then goes on to admit that there is "no doubt in his mind" that there is already contraband in the jail. So forgetting about what may or may not have been planned to come in to the jail on Wednesday, what about the contraband that was already there, which Bernie himself admits he believes was there?

In short, last Wednesday's raid was good, effective prison management. There is no two ways around it. Director Keen showed that his expertise and leadership paid off, as a professional in the field with experience not only in the Northampton County Jail, but also as the Warden of the Franklin County Jail and before that with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The Brown administration should be applauded for their hiring of someone as experienced as Director Keen, who knows how to make the right calls, like Wednesday's shake-down. More generally, this reflects on the high quality of the Brown administration as a whole.

Personally, I think Bernie owes the real professionals an apology. Not only Director Keen and the Brown team, but the state correctional officers and k-9 units who assisted in the raid with all of the expertise and professionalism that they bring. Leave it to the professionals, Bernie. We'll leave the punchlines and jokes to you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Professor" Bentham, Onw of the many mistakes you make in your comment here is your assumption that I am as poorly educated on this topic as high school grad Cathy Allen and Keen. I'm not. I have a law degree and have worked as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer and am quite familiar with jails and ow they operate.

Let me make the following points:

First and foremost, I am outraged that a high-ranking county official would "miscommunicate" about what was discovered. The public is entitled to the utmost honesty from its public servants, especially those working in corrections. Keen let them down. Embarrassed by what little had been found, he embellished and created the false impression that drugs were located. I find this to be the most disturbing aspect of this entire fiasco.

Second, the deterrent effect you mention is pure horseshit, and you know it. Mostly jail inmates are there very short term. Few stay longer than a few months. So there is absolutely no deterrent effect on the jail population.

Third, idiotically, you picked the busiest day of the week to conduct this raid, when no one is bringing in contraband. This has happened before, always on the busiest day, and always twith the same results. If you were really interested in doing your job, it would be on a weekend. But you are too lazy.

Fourth, you smugly tell me to leave this to the professionals. What professionals? Cathy Allen who has a high school diploma? Keen, who did not have a college degree when he was hired? You, who lack the personal integrity to even say who you really are? There are professionakls and i would be happy to leave it up to them. They are in the DA's office, the AG's office and in the PSP. Corrections officers have no clue on how to conduct an investigation, and should leave that to the professionals.

Finally, you wasted taxpayer money. Conservatively, I put the loss at $40,000. Some think it is twice that. You inconvenienced the public, who have plenty of things to do at the courthouse and were unable to park because of your goofy swat teams. You unnecessarily degraded inmates by strip searching them.

The only thing you established here is that you are a smug asshole who hides behind a pseudonym. Now go back to learning who stole the strawberries.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"As a supporter of Brown I could not vote for him again. I can't vote for a democrat"

I'm hearing rumors that Hayden Phillips is considering a run. While I disagree with him on a number of points, I believe at least he is a man of personal integrity, something that seems to be lacking at Corrections.

Anonymous said...

The dogs probably hit on a couple of recent hot spots that had something present but nothing was found during the raid to substantiate any charges being filed. The officers locker that drew the dogs attention is very interesting and that guy better beware. It sends a message despite the meager results which were probably minimized by advance warning to the staff and inmates who are operating those contraband rings. The lure of easy money and greed drives individuals to commit crime and supplant their income. Risky business.

Anonymous said...

Brown's refusal to properly staff the facility is still a huge issue. I sure hope none of the officers get injured by inmates who can and will take advantage of any weakness they can exploit and use.

Anonymous said...

The prison is apparently cleaner now than any time in recent history. Somebody's doing a good job - guards and admin. Good work.

Anonymous said...

"I can't vote for a democrat because I don't agree with their tax and spend policies so either I don't vote or we find a better republican to run against him."

Yet the Republican county council voted for a ten percent tax increase in their first year. The Tea Party darling Phillips wanted a twenty percent tax increase. Love your logic. Then again who said uber Republicans know how to think without Fox telling them what is real.

Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, as much as I would like to out myself I cannot for obvious reasons. It was disappointing, but not surprising, to see Brown and Campos flanked around our Director, who despite claims of our "complacency", turned up nothing more than excessive bedding. Dog and pony show indeed. That is not to say the shakedown wasn't a good thing, but to me it shows that we are doing a good job within the walls of NCP. As for "dirty guards", to claim there are a lot is irresponsible and inaccurate, but there may be some fire to the smoke. If so, prove it and get rid of them, because nobody wants to work with them. They make us all look like assholes, a perception we despise. My complaint with Director Keen, and I know I can speak for the entire staff, is his reluctance to meet with us. One would expect that, upon his arrival, he would have introduced himself to all of us, on all three shifts, brief us, and advise us of his expectations, goals, etc. Instead, we got nothing, nada, zilch. He is rarely seen, on any shift, and this is disappointing. Then again, this should come as no surprise as it reflects the lack of transparency that is so prevalent of the Brown administration. Meanwhile, overtime has skyrocketed to an all time high with no end in sight. We hired six and lost ten. New hires are supposedly on the way but the turnover is so great that I really cannot foresee any real relief here. We are tired, overwhelmed, burned out, disillusioned, and most of all...we are PISSED.

Anonymous said...

Ok. So they are so worried about prison. I can verify drug use in courthouse. Why can't you help me? I'm sitting back watching and guess what? Call in the union and drug test. Why pay dues if union is not enforcing what they are supposed to do. Can I say they are on drugs too?

Anonymous said...

Thank you..9:32. I take what you say as the truth of the matter. I respect your stance and know what you and your fellow workers are enduring as underlings in the Brown administration pyramid of power. You are not alone. We hear you.

David Houser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

DRUG TEST COURTHOUSE!!!!! Half of employees would be terminated. I said it before. I've seen it done. When???? Lunch

Anonymous said...

It's a single, inactive guard. Just one.

Anonymous said...

How many guards are gay?

Anonymous said...

@9:32 the rest of the admin staff have yet to introduce themselves as well. Overpaid and inexperience jokers now run things at NorCo.

Lt. (Ret) Mark Lambert said...

Bernie,
I wasn't going to comment on this subject until your post at 11:51. I respect that everyone has their own opinion, however, your comment that Corrections Officers don't have "a clue" on how to conduct an investigation hit a raw nerve with me. Having worked and retired from NCP I found myself conducting and assisting in many investigations with all levels of Law Enforcement agencies from Federal to Local that lead to convictions and at times proving innocence. And to say leave it to "The Professionals" was a comment that showed plain ignorance toward Corrections Officers. I always considered myself and my fellow Officers as Professionals and say that proudly.
As for the search "shakedown", they should be conducted, (not always on this scale), regularly to ensure for the safety of not only the officers and staff, also for the inmates and visitors to the facility. So as you may call it a waste of taxpayer money, I call it an insurance plan for safety and security for all, as money won't bring back a life.
As for finding nothing but extra items and traces of some type of past drug activity great, that shows for the most part that the Officers are doing their jobs. And for the trace in an officers locker, do what needs to be done and if it leads to an arrest and conviction then so be it, as I would not call him a "Brother".
As always I stand by the Officers of Northampton County and will always have their backs.

Anonymous said...

4:20am
Lt. I agree with you, Bernie had no right making that statement about Correction Offices. We at are professionals. I have been there with you when we found cell phones, drugs and contraband. We investigated and collected evidence and kept the administration out of the loop until the very last minute. For revelant reasons. The stereotype we bear is appalling. Keen's first mistake was telling anyone but the DA. If there were drugs or contrand let me surmise how the population found out. Brown + Allen = everyone she knew.

Not retired Lieutenant.


Bernie O'Hare said...

You are corrections officers, not investigators. Don't get the same misconception of what you do as Keen has. I would not ask the DA or detectives to guard inmates, nor should you conduct criminal investigations. A jail sweep is a criminal investigation.

Anonymous said...

Kostura=joke,Collins=joke,Keen=joke Allen=joke Brown =joke,so what we have here is one huge clown show.

Anonymous said...

Ha, you only talking about the tip of the iceberg. Lots more things are not being said. I feel so sorry of the workers that remain. Good people ruled by people that should not be in charge,