Monday, July 07, 2014
An Indictment of Nazareth Police Chief Thomas Trachta
Governments rarely listen to citizens, unless they represent some special interest. Ordinarily, I'd say something like this will get short shrift. But what makes this different is that civil rights lawsuits are looming. A governing body that refuses to correct the errant actions of an out-of-control police department will find itself liable.
WHEREAS, Thomas Trachta is the Chief of Police of Nazareth Borough; and
WHEREAS, on June 27, 2014, he conducted a staged perp walk of litter suspects, even to the point of handcuffing and shackling them; and
WHEREAS, on June 26 or 27, 2014, he called litter suspect Trevor Gehret a "retard" and falsely represented to him that Lehigh Valley blogger Bernie O'Hare, a Nazareth resident, is a "drunk"; and
WHEREAS, on June 27, 2014, he arrested three people for posting tiny stickers critical of him, while ignoring much larger signs posted all over the borough; and
WHEREAS, he has refused to take any disciplinary action against a part-time police officer engaged in an an on-duty affair, despite complaints from numerous Nazareth residents, including Gehret; and
WHEREAS, he refused to take any disciplinary action against another part-time police officer (ERIC SCHWAB) who, after responding to a domestic disturbance on June 9, 2014, returned and drank with one of the victims; and
WHEREAS, he has created a culture of intolerance for any criticism of the police department that resulted in Officer Eric Schwab posting a Facebook comment asking fellow police officers to "light this fucker up" in response to factual criticisms made by O'Hare on his blog; and
WHEREAS, he blackballed a Nazareth resident who served his country honorably in Iraq is currently employed as a Bangor police officer, from the Nazareth Police Department; and
WHEREAS, he falsely represented that this officer, a Nazareth resident, had been involuntarily committed, and attempted to get him fired in Bangor with the same misstatement; and
WHEREAS, he has avoided hiring military veterans, instead hiring officers who were either fired by or left other departments knowing they were about to be fired; and
WHEREAS, he requested this Board to authorize AR-15 training by part-time Officer Eric Schwab, showing preference in training for part-time police officers, who can leave for full-time employment elsewhere;
WHEREAS, in a June 30, 2014 Arbitration ruling, he admits he refused to administer a sergeant's exam because of fear that an officer he disliked would pass it; and
WHEREAS, he has usurped the authority of Borough Council with criminal prosecutions and the threats of criminal prosecution, including the ominous warning that he keeps files on all members of Council; and
WHEREAS, he has forced the ouster of long-time members of the Police Committee, and
WHEREAS, he has used Borough resources (the state police crime lab control number) to request investigation, not of crime in Nazareth, but criminal mischief directed at him in Bushkill Township; and
WHEREAS, he abused borough resources by using the borough control number to request a state police criminal background check for a part-time Nazareth police officer who was applying for full-time jobs in other municipalities, falsely indicating it was for an investigation; and
WHEREAS, Borough Council has independently obtained other reports of misconduct by Chief Thomas Trachta;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Nazareth Borough Council take the following steps:
1) That the Borough Council Solicitor be directed to prepare and forward a list of charges against Chief Trachta, and thereafter immediately provide a Loudermill letter to Chief Trachta;
2) That thereafter, this Council conduct a hearing to determine whether
a) Trachta is in material breach of his contract with Nazareth;
b) Trachta is is violation of the Borough Code, 53 P.S. Section 46190 for neglect and violation of duty; intemperance, immorality, conduct unbecoming an officer.
I am also circulating a petition online, seeking Trachta's ouster. There's a link on my left sidebar. It went active yesterday and had 28 signatures in about 12 hours. Most are from Nazareth.
Updated 1:30 pm: As of this moment, there are 74 signiatures, most of which are from Nazareth! I understand the Jacks' Club has responded with a "Keep Trachta" petition.