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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, January 06, 2014

Allentown Police Fails Its Citizens

Back in August, I told you the story of an Allentown single mother whose car was stolen. Whitehall police found her car the very next day. They asked Allentown to notify her, but Allentown delayed until this woman's car was both towed and impounded for a weekend. Police couldn't be bothered to tell her whether they had recovered her purse and credit cards. To get the car back, she had to pay a towing and storage fee because no one had bothered to tell her about the car until it was too late. She had to pay $242, without even knowing if it would roll off the lot. Allentown did call to tell her she'd have to keep it in impound a few more days if she wanted them to investigate who had stolen it. My conclusion, at the time, was that in Allentown, the criminal justice system fails the working poor. But it seems that Allentown's overworked police department is failing everyone else, too. Let me tell you the story.

Joanne Egan Bauer is an educator and an Allentown School Director. Not exactly working poor. But police did next to nothing for her when her car was stolen from Fairview Street, on December 19, between 16th and Fulton. 

Unlike the working mother I described in August, Bauer did have collision and comprehensive. But with very high deductibles. So like the working mom, she ended up paying as well. At Chtistmas.

Having a car stolen is a very stressful event that leaves the victim feeling violated and insecure. Even Bauer, who seems to have it together a lot better than most people, was quite upset.

On December 30, Bauer's car was recovered near 15th and Linden. It was heavily damaged in the front and side  Police had it towed away, and Bauer wss told she'd have to wait for that fingerprint team. In the meantime, she'd foo the towing and storage bill out of her own pocket.

On January 2, it appears that police dusted the car, and Bauer got to see it. She discovered two cellphones (believed stolen), a 6" knife and blood on the front seat of the car. Under the front seat mat, her husband discovered a credit card and debit card that appeared to be stolen from a local insurance agent.

After dusting the car, police traipsed off, leaving the stolen merchandise and knife in the car. They never collected the material or bothered to preserve a chain of custody for a subsequent prosecution, assuming they actually investigate the theft.

On January 4, Bauer had enough. She went to a local police substation to return the stolen credit cards that police had failed to pick up two days before. Here's how she explains what happened.

We go to the sub station at 10th and Hamilton and the police officer with no personality allows me to explain to him - amongst my bronchitis coughing--that I want to turn in these two credit cards. He doesn't want them. He is making excuses about why they didn't come on Thursday (Jan. 2) and allowed us to wait there for over an hour without a courtesy call to tell us that they wouldn't be there.  Now, he won't take the cards, wants me to go back to collision center and wait again. I say I am sick - nothing in the car is mine.  He won't take the credit cards. I am repressing myself as I do not want to get arrested for disorderly conduct - just take the guy's credit cards and contact him. I finally fly the cards through a slit in the plexiglass and request my license back-- he is like the sgt. from gomer pyle show--so unpleasant and down right rude -- remember - I think that I am the victim -- ha -- so hopefully they will get in contact with this man. Maybe they will go and get the knife, maybe they will, maybe, maybe, maybe -- so now I think about how good some people are in their jobs and then I think about how bad some people are in their jobs - I have not had one acceptable encounter with the Allentown police department about my stolen/crashed and disabled car--

So it seems that it does not matter whether you're a member of the middle class or the working poor. Allentown police are failing everyone.

Is this because they're all lazy bums who don't give a shit about the people they are sworn to protect and serve? No. My experience has been that most officers are probably very conscientious. But there simply aren't enough if them.

Allentown is starting 2014 with 206 officers, only three more than existed in 2009. Fourteen senior level officers retired last year, and it appears that the force is suffering. Fortunately, one of them, Daryl Hendricks, has been elected to City Council.

Allentown's public safety has to be the top priority of any City administration, not building hockey arenas or hob nobbing with well-heeled donors or launching a gubernatorial campaign.

This has been Edwin Pawlowski's single biggest flaw as Mayor. It is not a perceived problem, but a very real one. It needs the attention of a Mayor, not a candidate for Governor.


The Blanker said...

Allentown pigs couldn't even catch the mugs who stole Orclownski's Donovan for mayor sign.

Bill said...

Several years ago they changed the way that they reported crimes to citizens so thta instead of reporting crime by street location, it is now reported by time of day. As a citizen I can not tell what crimes have been reported in my area. I btought this to the attention of senior members of the force last year and iI was told it was too hard to do. Combined with the fact that police no longer take reports face to face fom citizens we are left with police force that is detached from those that live in the city. So citizens who report crime often have no feedback loop. I suspect that more crimes go unreported as a reslt. This car was stolen two blocks from my hme and i am sure I would never have known about it other thn as a result of this blog, So from what you have reported, APD failed to collect evidence and thier prcedures ended up revictimizing the innocent citizen. This must be corrected.

Bill said...

sorry for typos, phone keyboard too small

Anonymous said...

This has been going on four at least 5 years. It's how the crime stats have been manipulated downward.

Anonymous said...

they're union pukes, what do u expect?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The 2:32 comment is from the Blog Mentor, who is one sick individual. He and his equally sick wife have no sympathy for the misfortune of others, and both engage in a regular pattern of cyberbullying that extends from Catholic priests to college professors. One woman is called an "Amazon" and another is referred to as a prostitute. He uses the word "pussy" to call out his foes. Instead of distancing herself from this misogyny, his wife joins in it.

Amazingly, she is a teacher in Allentown's school district. Neither of them should be allowed near children, including their own.

Joanne Bauer is supposedly one of their allies, but they make fun of her plight. They are both monsters.

Anonymous said...

From a rather odd perspective I believe the 2:32 AM comment is their way of adding support to Ms. Jackson.

The V's are cultivating relationships not only with Ms Bauer, who has a history of attempting to throw others under the bus with the aid of the V's, but with other ASD board members as well.

Just take a look at Billy Bully's friend list on his sophomoric Facebook site.

Meow, meow!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think it was typical of their unwillingness to see pain in anyone other than themselves.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

He is, and so is his name.