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.
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.