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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, August 04, 2014

Stoudt Begins Providing Nazareth Police Oversight

unmarked Nazareth cruiser.
I attended Thursday night's Nazareth Borough Council, mostly as an observer. They sure have an awful lot of back room meetings, known more politely as Executive Sessions. Right after courtesy of the floor, they huddled in the basement with their labor lawyer. A series of them was also held at the end of the night, with four of them for just the police department. Chief Thomas Trachta was absent, though I believe that's only because he's on vacation. Most of the meeting focused on a landlord inspection ordinance that will be voted on tonight. But it's also clear that at least one Council member is now becoming openly critical of the Chief.

This meeting follows a private meeting of the Civil Service Commission, which rejected Chief Trachta's attempt to blackball an Iraq war veteran as a full-time police officer. He's been re-instated to his number one position, despite Trachta's attempt to muddy him up in favor of a part-time journeyman.

I've told you before that Borough Council is actually afraid of this Chief, especially after Council member Larry Stoudt was charged with obstructing a police investigation. Though vilified in the press, the case was never tried because Larry enrolled in ARD, a special program for first offenders. Trachta actually wrote to the Governor, seeking Stoudt's removal from office, but got nowhere.

Last year, Council members were provided copies of pictures hanging in the police department. They included Rev. Bill Matz, who was caricatured as a rat. They also included Jack Herbst, who was depicted with a knife in his back and some sort of warning. Herbst installed video surveillance at his home, not for burglars, but the police.

Unfortunately, both Herbst and Matz are no longer members of Council. The Borough Council that was ready to fire Trachta instead gave him a contract at the urging of Mayor Carl Strye.

On Thursday night, for the first time in years, the old Larry Stoudt returned. He already has a bull's eye on his back because this long-time police committee chair knew the games that were being played. Now he can add another bull's eye to his chest. But he's now representing the people instead of Trachta.

Stoudt complained about the cost of re-painting an unmarked car used by the Chief, who apparently didn't like the color. He also noted that there's no reason for him to have a tinted window, and complained about the fleet of seven cruisers owned by the department.

Now I believe there are legitimate reasons for tinted windows during stakeouts and for K-9 officers. But Nazareth has no K-9 officers, and Chief is strictly a 9 to 5 guy. In fact, when some Council members suggested that tinting is needed if someone is in the car, Stoudt said this:

"That's bull. That's bull. That's just somebody wants what they want and they're gonna' get it. That's crap."

I personally can see both sides of this question. That matters little to me. What does matter is that someone is finally starting to provide some oversight for the police. I see none anywhere else.


Anonymous said...

Stoudt has a good point. I showed up at the Borough offices by mistake last month, hoping to see a council meeting. During the 15 minutes it took to realize they have plush quarters elsewhere, I was marveling at all the police cars and SUV's. The one's sitting around doing absolutely nothing behind the police department. What a waste of resources.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll admit I am very uninformed on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Stoudt is the wrong guy to be pointing fingers at anyone. Nazzy has problems. Stoudt isn't the guy to solve them. He's lucky he's not in jail.

Anonymous said...

Here how it has to be done kick council,mayor out first ✔ then vote all new law abiding citizens in ✔next vote for a real mayor in not a puppet ✔then call newspaper,tv news anchor,and walk the chief and his dogg.Up to town square,in front of everybody for their firing.all yes don't forget to shove dogg ✔what a beautiful thing to watch 😜 now fire the council,mayor,chief,deputy dogg.show up in force tonight. Let them know your out of a job you follower's ✔

Anonymous said...

We need a real mayor not a puppet we have now I'd vote this guy in.In a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Vote out council and mayor tonight ❗❗❗❗❗

Anonymous said...

I agree sometimes you need to get rid of the old.And start new. I like Carl ❗ we've been friends on the fire department for many years ❗ but what a lot of the talk has been about.Is the fact that Carl has said that he personally will go after a police officer too get him fired.because he can't stand him.Carl we all know this officer.and he is not a puppet Carl like you want. Please come back to the real world Carl.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Stoudt is the wrong guy to be pointing fingers at anyone."

Or was he set up? I am glad someone is exercising some oversight. It is not coming from anywhere else.