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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Colonial Regional Police Are Worth It

Bath Borough, which recently moved into a new $450,000 municipal building in need of $250,000 in improvements, is pondering whether to cut costs by eliminating Colonial Regional Police Department in favor of some cheaper alternative. This borough thought nothing of borrowing near the limit and didn't blink an eye when legal fees doubled. But Borough Manager Brad Flynn was very upset that the cost of police coverage went up five percent, from $398,000.00 in 2016 to $416,000.00 in 2017. "This increase in cost will prompt upcoming discussions with the Colonial Regional Police Commission about the Borough’s seat at the table and to what future extent," he huffed in his budget message last year.

Decades of fiscal mismanagement from leaders that once included a Mayor who pleaded guilty to stealing from her local church, are being blamed on the men (and women) in blue. Flynn prepared an "informational" packet that was distributed at a Saturday morning town hall, slamming police coverage. Officers were prevented from speaking and were told they could make their case at the next Borough Council meeting. They did so, and were politely ignored. No questions. Not even a "Thank you for your service." At least Borough Council President Mark Saginario opted against open carrying, something he did when AFSCME once appeared at a meeting.

I have requested Colonial Regional to supply me with their response to Bath's "informational" packet.

Here are the points they make.

Bath Compared to Six LV Boroughs

Each of these boroughs has its own dedicated police department, small in size, and staffed by a few full-time and part-time officers. Bath is part of a regional department that has no part time officers. Bath pays the highest salary is not accurate. When compared to similar other boroughs in the Lehigh Valley, Bath is paying a comparable cost to all other departments,but is getting an accredited police department . Bath spends 22% of its budget for police services at $413,536,the second lowest rate for the boroughs listed above.

Cost per officer

Bath pays its portion of the police budget (12%) for the entire department, which includes 25 sworn officers and 2 civilian positions. Bath’s portion of the total police department budget is around 12%.Bath falls far below the average of the compared boroughs at $153/resident. The average is $200/resident. The attempt to compare specific salaries is impossible because many municipalities rely heavily on part-time officers.

Crime Statistics

Bath officials attempted to downplay the severity if crime. That is a mistake. In 2016, there were 141 reportable offenses. These include manslaughter (1), rape (1), burglary (12), theft (44), vehicle theft (2), Forgery/Fraud (15), vandalism (20), Arson (1), Drugs – Sales/Manufacturing (2), Drugs – Possession (16),
Alcohol – DUI (16) and Alcohol – Drunkenness (5).

For the municipalities cited above, Bath has far more reportable crime than any of them. Alburtis, for example, reported only 27 offenses, about 1/20 what was reported in Bath.

Motor Carrier Enforcement

Unlike most small departments, Colonial Regional actually does have a certified motor carrier officer. The other 24 officers have cited dozens of trucks for a variety of other moving violations that are not documented as motor carrier enforcement incidents. An example is when the Mayor reached out to Colonial about speeding dump trucks on Main St. Several trucks operators were cited for speeding. There a have also been dozens of weight violation citations.

Drug Task Force

The Northampton County Drug Task Force is a county run program. It is not funded in any way by Bath. So any drug task force time accounted in Bath or anywhere else in the county is paid for by the county. Between 2012-2016, Colonial seized $55,709 and a total of 7 vehicles. Colonial believes it has been very proactive in addressing the drug issues in the borough.

Ordinance Violations

Flynn's "informational" packet slammed Colonial for failing to issue tickets for parking and other ordinance violations. Reviewing only the parking tickets issued from 2010-2015, Colonial issued 916 parking tickets in Bath.

DARE Program
26 million kids nationwide in 75% of school districts across the country have a DARE program. The last page of the Informational Packet cited outdated studies that implied the current DARE program is ineffective. The Time Magazine study and others conducted in the late 90’s were correct in finding little to no benefit of the DARE program. In the early 2000s the entire program curriculum was re-evaluated and new techniques and methods were implemented to better suit the needs of school age children and adolescents. For understanding, Officer Kovach is teaching the new version of the DARE curriculum at George Wolf and Sacred Heart Elementary Schools. A more recent and relevant study, an independent randomized control sample evaluation of the D.A.R.E. Primary program was carried out in 2015/2016 using a sample of over 50 schools and 1500 young people. The evaluation was carried out by Nottingham Trent University's Professor Andromachi Tseloni and showed that the program had a significantly statistic effect on:
• Increasing knowledge surrounding drugs, alcohol and substance abuse
• Making safe and responsible choices
• Communication and listening
• Getting help from others
Colonial offers the DARE program is offered because the Northampton Area School District requests it. George Wolf and Sacred Heart Elementary are the two schools in Colonial's jurisdiction that continue to support and request the DARE program.

Bike Patrol

Bath’s main use of Bike Patrol is during special events like the Halloween Parade. Each year at least 3 bicycle officers patrol the route along with several other officers positioned through the downtown area both on foot and in vehicles.

Shop with a Cop

-The sole purpose of this annual event is to give under privileged kids a Christmas. The meals for the kids are donated by the restaurants and all the money that each kid gets to shop with is donated by the community. For the past 11 years Colonial has hosted this event and provided a fun filled day for over 100 kids from all over the Greater Bath-Nazareth area. Eighty percent are from Bath.


Anonymous said...

It is a mistake for the Colonial Police to use this blog. It is playing politics and takes away form their position.

Anonymous said...

Wrong, wrong and wrong. I agree with 01:35 and furthermore their response packet is misleading. Out of the 25-member CRPD, Bath pays for 3 full-time officers who are not on constant patrol in the Borough. Their Maximum patrol salary in 2017 is $77,233 or $37.13 per hour. This is the highest in Northampton County! The mean average patrol salary for boroughs with similar demographics is $57,127 or $27.46 per hour. CRPD salary is $20,106 more than the mean average salary. Their salary will increase 3.5% in 2018 and top out at $79,936 per year, or $38.43 per hour.

In 2015, the whole CRPD had seven [7] violent crimes, 15th out of 34 in the Lehigh Valley. Five boroughs in the Lehigh Valley had more violent crime than the CRPD. Neighboring townships, Bethlehem Twp. [17] and Palmer Twp. [10] had more than the CRPD.

With populations over 20,000, the CRPD is seven [7] out of eight [8], yet the Chief of Police is the 3rd highest paid Chief.

Simply put, the Borough of Bath can't afford the massive personnel costs of the CRPD. With 12.9% of the population below the poverty level and no room for industrial expansion, unlike Lower Nazareth and Hanover Townships, sustainability is impossible in this endeavor!

Anonymous said...

Wow 6:36, if you only put as much effort into managing the borough as you do making arguments on blog comments then maybe you might be able to fix your borough problems.
If the borough just stuck to a very simple argument of "we can't afford it" then you would have no fight against you. But you (Brad Flynn) published data and information that was intended to smear the name of CRPD and its officers. If what BO published is correct, it looks like the department is only refuting Baths attempt to smear them.

Anonymous said...

The comments made by the blog contributor at "6:36" are those of a certain councilman trying to justify there opposition to the CRPD. What a shame.
The CRPD is a great police department and well run. We can always find fault with anything in life. The secret to this whole thing is to support all the positives and work together to improve on what we consider to be the negatives. Fortunately for us in the CRPD there are very few negatives and they are so minor that they can easily be corrected at a negotiating table.
What is happening here in Bath is simple and obvious.....Certain Council persons are trying to create an issue as a diversion to take the attention of the many inequities and mismanagement or our Borough away from the real problems. The real problems can easily be corrected. Simply elect a new Borough Council.

Anonymous said...

So let me do some math according to 6:36. If Bath pays for 3 full time officers and they expect constant 24/7 officer in the borough, that would mean those 3 officers would need to each work 56 hours a week to cover the 24/7 hours of 168 per week.
Is Bath gonna pay that overtime cost to get the fulltime coverage? Nope. Stop saying that Bath pays for 3 officers. Thats like saying you pay for 5 computers in the office or 20 rolls of toilet paper. Its just not accurate. Bath pays its portion of the whole budget. Just like LNT and HT pay their portion.

Anonymous said...

6:36 AM/AKA Mr. Flynn/or a surrogate

1.) Aren't you a former police officer - someone needs to investigate why "former"
2.) Why is a former CRPD officer leading the charge to dump the CRPD
3.) If the mayor is in favor of keeping the CRPD why doesn't she come out publicly stat that?

The residents of Bath are being sold a bs story by the manager. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 6:36 because nobody can refute his numbers. The bottom line is the fact that Bath Borough can't afford their current policing efforts. All the relevant facts such as: Medium Household Income, Per Capita Income, Population Below the Poverty Line, Medium Value of Households, Available Land for Development and Total Assessed Value all illustrate that Bath is not in the same neighborhood economically as the two townships in the CRPD. You don't have to be a genius with numbers to recognize these facts and the Rah, Rah crybabies are all being stirred up by members of the CRPD who might lose out economically if a pullout is executed.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the data and analysis of the data is it is a snapshot in time. Just one year.

You really need to look at least five years of crime and expenditures to get the full picture in all the boroughs.

Anonymous said...

The numbers were not only disputed but shread by information supplied by the CRP on Nay 23rd. Facts beat distorded information.

Anonymous said...

If Bath wants to get rid of the Colonial Regional Police Department over a 5% increase in costs, then why are they spending $700,000 on a new municipal building?

Anonymous said...

The department response shows that they did not argue demographic numbers because they are what they are. It looks like they argued the numbers that pertain to their dept and Flynn's attempt to make them look bad. If Flynn and the borough wanted to leave, then piss or get off the pot. But right now it looks like the only pissing they are doing is into the wind.

Anonymous said...

You are the definition of misleading. Your own borough website has the police response posted. Read it because if you want to see the whole picture there it is. You are taking 1 piece on crime and using it out of context. Now you are only looking at your own definition of violent crime cause it fits your argument right? But whole picture of all reportable crimes bath is now brought into reality. And now you want to compare CRPD with all departments, what happened to just comparing Bath to similar boroughs??? Oh thats right, it will show that Bath has far more crime than them.
Same with pay. Go ahead a pay your officers the same as what you pay the borough manager and see how quickly they leave for better opportunities.

Anonymous said...

"The numbers were not only disputed but shread by information supplied by the CRP on Nay 23rd. Facts beat distorded information."

I don't care what the issue is. The person posting these comments needs to apologize to all those who tried and failed to educate him or her. This person can't spell and can't master the very handy spell-check feature this blog offers. The comments might carry more weight if appalling spelling and construction didn't betray the moron behind them.

Anonymous said...

I was fro the police until they used this blog to play politics.

Anonymous said...

As a semi-retired professor at a well known private college outside the Lehigh Valley, who lives in the Lehigh Valley, I have taken a keen interest in the Borough of Bath and the CRPD issue. I have decided to write a new course problem, this summer, and present it to my students next winter. (Of course, I'll change the names to protect the innocent).
As a person who has no personal stake in this matter, I feel somewhat compelled to give my insights.
First, Bath Borough council and administration have been overly transparent on this issue. Exit talks have been going on since Mid 2016; A Citizens Police Advisory Panel has been convened; a town-hall meeting conducted; and constant dialogue on this has been part of every council meeting. Both the Borough administration and the CRPD union have presented informational packets to council, the citizens and general public through their website.
Second, sifting through all this alleged factual information, I find the CRPD union packet, (and I'm union), non-compelling, disingenuous and manipulative. Nowhere do they mention, justify or quantify their above average salary. Also, they have not provided or presented any solutions to this problem.
Third, they try to enhance their positions by lamenting about their K-9 program, motor carrier enforcement, NCDTF membership and their borough parking enforcement. All of these specialties are negligible at best. In 2015 there were no motor carrier violations in Bath and the department issued 0.41 parking tickets per day.
In closing, I do agree that Bath has a spending problem. This did not come overnight and it represents years of neglect, mismanagement and errant financial decisions. Changing to cost-effective police services is a start and a must in Bath. T.J. Lindsay

Bernie O'Hare said...

I deleted an anonymous personal attack aimed at the police chief, which really has no place in this discussion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:03, I wish you would say who you really are so students would know who to avoid. Your claim that budget talks have been going on since mid-2016 is nonsense. The claim of transparency is also nonsense. When you hold a town hall and refuse to allow police to respond to a flawed account about them, that's a far cry from transparency. When you refuse to survey your own citizenry, that's not transparent. When you have a mayor who refuses to say publicly what she says privately, that's not transparent. This is the same crew that defunded crossing guards, for Christ's sake! Public safety is obviously not a priority to them. I also note your attempt to interject unions into the mix as though that is a sin. Hopefully, you will soon be fully retired, as you are no teacher or much of a thinker.

Anonymous said...

As the one who wrote the CRPA response, maybe I can explain the purpose of why we wrote what we wrote. Our response was just that, a response to what we saw as an attack on our name. We did not and do not dispute the entire packet of info that Bath put out including their outlook on their finances, and their future projections. Only the last page which questioned our work performance and tried to make us look bad (example DARE program and Shop with Cops) is what we took issue with.
So what we did was respond and provide information (in context) to show a better understanding of each of the questionable points on that page. We did not critize, we did not call anyone out, we only provided info in context of how it was being presented.
Andrew Laudenslager

Anonymous said...

so according to the math, Bath should be getting 120 hours per week police protection. I doubt the number is that high.

Anonymous said...

The Northampton County Drug Task Force is a county run program. It is not funded in any way by Bath.



Anonymous said...

By your argument, anyone who lives outside of Bath is also paying for the County Drug Task Force to operate, regardless of where they may do so.

Anonymous said...

You sir are no arbitrator of the facts that have been presented. Your position is biased, with no command of the facts, and therefore tainted. Even the Association, through their representative, admits the basic facts submitted by the borough of Bath are correct. Still, you try to manipulate the citizens of Bath into thinking that their current government is anti-police, anti-public safety and non-transparent. All accounts from the general media paint a different picture then you. I do believe that the CRPD is a good police department, but the fact of the matter is that they have become too expensive for the little Borough of Bath. I'm glad you are not in any of my political science classes because your baseless position would earn you an F.

My mention of belonging to a union was to show that I have no anti-union animus towards the association. Because you have a law degree, it does not make you an expert in public discourse or management. T.J. Lindsay

Bernie O'Hare said...

I pretty much established that the "facts" you recite are complete bullshit. Exit talks have NOT taken place since mid-2016. There has been no transparency, established at a town hall in which police officers were muzzled. There has been no survey of the community. And here's the best of all. There is no Professor TJ Lindsay at any college around here. You are a fraud, and you cloak yourself in a lie to fool people into thinking you have gravitas. You don't.

Anonymous said...

Breaking News 2018. Crime plummets in Bath. Mayor exited about trend. Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo Guzman moves into Old Forge.

Anonymous said...

Is there any sense in arguing about this anymore. No amount of facts and figures presented by either side matters. Bath is leaving CRPD. It's only a matter of time until it is announced. Their minds gave been made up for awhile.

Anonymous said...

We'll have nice roads, a new building, no cops and declining property value. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble finding "Colonial Regional" on the map. Is this place a legal jurisdiction? Does it have a mayor or governing authority to which there is policy requiring enforcement? Has this area/town/city been incorporated? Who are it's representatives?

I always thought police where to provide the policy enforcement of a incorporated governing authority and that any incorporated governing authority without policy enforcement officers is illegitimate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Try doing a little more homework before posting comments that border on lunacy.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is me "doing my homework" that's how much I really care.

A town/township/city governing authority without police it's an illegitimate governing authority.

...and vice versa.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are completely wrong. I do not exist to spoon-feed you information you could easily learn on your own. And I refuse to waste my weekend educating you.