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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Did Palmer PD Fail 911 Call?

A nationwide manhunt is currently underway for Edgar Himel, 81, who has been charged with homicide for the July 4 slaying of his wife, Penny VanTassel-Himel, at their Palmer Township home. He's also been charged with theft because he took off in her car. Investigators and prosecutors called a news conference yesterday to release a recent photograph of Himel, as well as the 2019 Nissan Rogue he is driving.

He is 5'11," brown eyes, bald and was sporting a handlebar mustache. The Nissan is dark green, registration GHV-0051. He is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him is requested to call 911.

This story has received extensive coverage, as it should, in The Express Times, Morning Call, WFMZ-TV69 and NBC-10. The top priority for police right now, as DA John Morganelli observed, is bringing Edgar Himel to justice. There is little doubt in my mind that will happen. Detective Timothy Ruoff is regarded one of the Lehigh Valley's top investigators. But Palmer police made his job more difficult by giving Himel a three-day head start. Below you can see some of the questions astonished reporters had when Morganelli revealed that two officers left the scene even though they had seen an elderly and bald man standing motionless in a bedroom, refusing to answer the door.



The 911 call came in at 2:18 am from the victim's cellphone, reporting an emergency at her home and confirming her address in Old Orchard. Two officers responded, which is what police protocol requires. They knocked. They could see an older bald man standing motionless inside the bedroom, refusing to answer. They left without trying to enter the home.

Her deceased body was found, in that bedroom, three days later.

"Those are good questions," Morganelli responded to the numerous inquiries. He said those questions will be answered, but he needs to focus right now on locating Himel.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Anonymous said...

"Did Palmer PD fail 911 call?"

Yes!

News report said they are investigating but must wait because one officer is on sick leave and the other is on vacation. Seriousl.ly?? Vacation. someone died, you may want to kick someone's butt and get them back now. This is a fiasco and the lack of effort tis astounding. DA's are notoriously police friendly but it is hard to blow this off. These guys really screwed the pooch on this call.

Peter J.Cochran said...

“We have a failure to communicate.” Bingo! The answer would be in Tech. The phone lines and what might be available from that vehicle, We recovered two Acura’s from same fraud artist that way for LV Accura years ago and the guy only had pager. Based on model and trim level ,if it was a GM car for example he would be dead in the water already ,located and shut down . A whole bunch of co- ordination an a flurry of events then happen . One person has to “ man the switch” on this type of thing and they gotta live this out . Poor woman .

Anonymous said...

When Santoro got murdered in 2017 it was a a Palmer police botch job also. Pathetic

Anonymous said...

How about Alice Hall ,The librarian from LC .

Anonymous said...

Maybe after everyone is back from vacation.

Anonymous said...

Just so it doesn’t involve an AR15.
AR15s are the reason for the decline of Western Civilization.
Ban AR15s and everything is going to be okay.

Anonymous said...

1) 911 call received
2) police dispatched
3) police make contact with caller
4) police clear scene

Step #3 does not appear to have been performed. If not, this is outrageous. Palmer taxpayers spend a lot of money for a professional department. If that department failed in one of its most basic tasks, the entire gang should be replaced with actual, professional LEOs. This isn't a traffic dispute. A woman died and her alleged murderer was given a friendly head start on his getaway by a department that is getting paid to supposedly protect its citizens. I agree with a previous poster that the vacation guy should get his ass back to town and answer questions.

Anonymous said...

You seat Houck at the table he better be prepared to make some big decisions. He must be ready to charge these officers.

Anonymous said...

Remember, the police and 911 will not protect you, it is helpful, but most likely this victim was dead before the police arrived, it seems they screwed up, but the police very seldom are able to stop crime before it happens, mostly just clean up and investigate after the fact. We seem to believe the police can protect us from harm, an illusion.

Anonymous said...

Every TV crime show depicts the police going into the dwelling. If the victim has a gun to her head, what is she going to say to someone outside? This is a terrible situation.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of the Florida school shooting and that officer hiding outside. Maybe 6:57 is right but it's very sad for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Agree with those wondering how department would allow officer to remain "on vacation."
Really?

Anonymous said...

Sick leave? Vacation? This is a homicide, send an investigator to the home of officer Summeroff and another investigator to the vacation spot, or pick up a phone. Understand that the police in no way are mandated to protect us from harm but they are also not to be indifferent to our calls for assistance.

It sounds like Palmer needs to hire two new people for patrol.

Anonymous said...

Agree that an investigation is needed and needed now to sort out the 911 response. From a larger management and training perspective, isn’t it a bit curious that a chief formerly presiding over a department that experienced an officer shooting in an arms room now leads a department with a suspicious, albeit as yet uninvestigated, 911 incident? What is the accreditation status of the Palmer Police Dept?

Anonymous said...

Fuckin A right they failed in their jobs and red faced chief palmer, needs to be fired! Is being red faced due to alcohol abuse or cheap bic razors?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile two more shot at a nightclub (including the owner) within spitting distance of Lehigh Valley Hospital 17th & Chew.
Kiss the near West End goodbye.
Oh well, just another day in Allentown.
Hardly worth reporting.

Anonymous said...

Palmer Twp needs a competent police chief.

Anonymous said...

You could bet the house things would be different if it were a black man seen and not responding to the door...

Anonymous said...

John steps in to speak for Larry Palmer before he can look any more inept.
How did this guy ever get another job in police work after his tenure in Easton?
WTF is going on here?

Anonymous said...

The Russians attacked the call center and manipulated this mans escape.

Anonymous said...

By the time they responded she was probably already deceased. At most they failed to make the arrest immediately rather then being any great help to anyone shot multiple times in the head.

Anonymous said...

John looks ridiculous coverings for these clowns.
Meals on Wheels is more conscientious - much more conscientious.
This is our best and brightest?
Terrifying.

Anonymous said...

I’ll comment when I am back from vacation.

Anonymous said...

“Those matters will be handled internally by the Palmer Township Police Department.”
God help us.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight...2 officers respond to a 911 call, see a guy standing in the bedroom who refuses to respond to them and they just leave. Woman found murdered in that same room 3 DAYS LATER and the perpetrator is armed and still on the run and the 2 cops that chose to leave the scene without doing anything are unavailable...one because he's on VACATION?? WTF??

Anonymous said...

Anon , 10:00 your going to eat that statement. And if defendant is not located,shortly - if somebody’s holding paper on the Rouge ,the repo guys will find it after payment is missed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"News report said they are investigating but must wait because one officer is on sick leave and the other is on vacation. Seriousl.ly?? "

That refers to the investigation whether protocol was followed, not the murder. But it's still bullshit. Someone died. You bring this cop back from vacation. And you talk to the other, unless he is in a coma. Someone died. Thus demonstrates a complete disdain for the public Palmer supposedly serves. I find it outrageous that Larry Palmer fails to grasp that this If he does not feel that way, he needs to get off his ass and get statements TODAY!. Their supervisor, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Palmer is accredited.

Anonymous said...

Three strikes and your out chief

Bernie O'Hare said...

"1) 911 call received
2) police dispatched
3) police make contact with caller
4) police clear scene

Step #3 does not appear to have been performed."


That's certainly what appears to be the case. But let's be clear here. The fact that two officers were sent is consistent with the protocol followed. The two officers in question report to a night supervisor. If they cleared the scene without making contact, I believe they wee acting under orders from their supervisor. In addition, even if they clear,protocol requires them to do several passes on patrol. Thus needs a hard look. While the homicide is top priority, I am appalled by what happened. There might be a good explanation. If so the public needs to hear it. Palmer PD has just given the public every reason to believe it does not care about them. Vacation? Please.

Anonymous said...

Im sure the ambulance chasing lawyers are already in contact with the family which rightly so have a claim. Further what a great press conference with John "Showboat" Morganelli. Since soon he wont be in front of the camera's I am sure he will spend as much time as he can on this. JM is the Chief Law enforcement Officer of this county and HE should tell Palmer produce your men right now! JM should be embarrassed by even his handling of this sad crime victim. What respect for the victim " We are waiting for the officer to come back from vacation? Out sick? JM and his handling of this is just as botched. Turn the case over to the State AG or Fed's for a civil rights violation cause our DA cannot get the job done! along with the Barney Fife's of the Palmer Police! This is serious and not a TV show Mr. Showboat!

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am sure one phone call from the Attorney General's Office or the FBI will have these men delivered immediately for questioning of the handling of this crime. I hope this will not be the legacy to tarnish DA. Morganelli's fine reputation as a crime fighter by the handling of this with Palmer Police and the Northampton County DA'a Office. VERY SAD indeed

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You seat Houck at the table he better be prepared to make some big decisions. He must be ready to charge these officers"

With what? Unless there is proof that the victim was alive at the time they cleared the scene, there is no evidence of criminal behavior. I supposed that you could argue that allowing an armed and a dangerous man to take off is reckless endangerment, but that is a stretch. And again, the officers might be blameless. They may have been instructed to clear.

Deplorable Don said...

Ed Disgrace looks a bit like Himel and also has Jungle fever, in light of his recent conviction his SO should be careful IMO

Anonymous said...

EPD should have been Larry Palmers last job as a public servant of any sort.
It’s a bad joke.

Anonymous said...

Abe Kassis for DA

Anonymous said...

Palmer is the chief.
The buck stops there.
Any remotely honorable man would resign.

Anonymous said...

Does the District Attorney work for the public or does he/she work for the police?

Anonymous said...

Palmer PD's rank and file have always been one of the best and most professional in the county until Chief Palmer was hired. The Pre-Chief Palmer officers are still great. So are a few of the hires he's made.

However, he's made some bad hiring decisions as well. I expect that when we find out who the officers are we will find out they are his hires. I also expect that the good rank and file of Palmer PD will get the short end of the stick too.

Why he was hired after all the problems in EAPD under his watch has never made sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Larry Palmer is displaying all the dynamic leadership at this news conference that has been the hallmark of his police career.
Palmer went from Patrolman to Chief in Easton, then back to patrolman. Everyone knew that the EPD was really run out of its rogue “SWAT” unit and Palmer was an empty suit.
The entire situation is absolutely ridiculous.
It’s all an Old Boys club and the public for this ineptitude.

Anonymous said...

The regional call center hard at work with the nue valley experience and there dimensional designs recreating a triboro criminal enterprise. Now we se the buck being passed and pointing of fingers, looks like that could be ed degraces brother bernie?

Anonymous said...

These are the people who we expect, and pay, to provide public safety?
It’s a frightening situation.
Frightening.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why everyone is upset with the police here. If that victim wasn't in the house she wouldn't have been killed.

Anonymous said...

Can Jacko provide details on the amount of the settlement the County paid for Morgenelli discriminating against a black corrections officer who was denied a position as County Detective based on his race. Please ask Jacko what this cost the taxpayers of Norco County. Morgenneli and Carrol should work well together, Bernie, if you are going to attack one for being a racist, the settlement by the County is fact that it believed Morgenelli was racist in his decision. You make a big story about Carroll, but it cost the taxpayers nothing

Anonymous said...

Who ever heard of a 911 call with this kind of behavior? The man is seen in the house and does not answer the door and the police see him and leave? This is NOT standard operating procedure and there is no excuse. Maybe if the Palmer PD did there jobs correctly with the standard norm this woman would be alive.

Anonymous said...

The people behind this episode, and I mean all of them including the sorry hacks at this presser, are not fit to work Security at Dorney Park.
Utterly pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Looks like John has a lot of confidence in Larry’s ability to speak for the Palmer P.D.
LOL!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

They were just following orders....

My guess is this guy will not kill anyone else but himself and the public is not in serious danger from him.

The urgency to mitigate earlier incompetence is understandable but the 911 system working as it should is more relevant to public safety then finding this guys body.

Anonymous said...

These public servants are the same as the ones in neighboring counties if it dosn't benifit them than they just don't care. There has been gifts benifiting all involved, shows, dinners and whatnots including monitary gifts?

Sad to see at the cost of such a beautiful ladies life?

Bernie O'Hare said...

What happened is outrageous but the notion that this is typical is dead wrong. Police officers are generally quite selfless and this is atypical behavior. I will have more to say tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, Palmer P.D. is going to review the entire episode.
Let’s move on.
Simple.
Done.
Cool.

Anonymous said...

Well We'll yet another pay to play issue. Is the officer vacationing at a law firms Villa?

Anonymous said...

On vacation.
Jeez, that’s really really really lame.

Anonymous said...

The mention of the Alice Hall murder in Palmer Twsp years ago brought back memories. That was another investigation bungled by the Palmer PD. At the time the Palmer PD chief was Nick Divietro. Divietro was mister "law and order" but eventually got forced out when some of his officers made videos of him allegedly meeting some woman on township time for the purpose of committing adultery against his wife. The officers showed the evidence against the chief at a Palmer Supervisors meeting. Later in life the former chief got caught up in a prostitution sting being run by the Easton Police. And wasn't chief Palmers son arrested by the Palmer PD for breaking into cars while Larry Palmer was still chief at the EPD. It's a bad time for Palmer Twsp. They most likely will get sued for that fatal accident involving a township cop last fall. Then the bad press on the latest incident and not to mention that someone shit in the township pool on July 4th causing its closure.

Anonymous said...

They need to do more than get behind this silly police explanation, they have to look into the e911 center. The report claims the call cut off and the center tried to call the number back and got no response. Hopefully they communicated that to the police.
The county center is said to have incompetent management. Like Palmer it is allegedly filled with friends and buddies of the people running the place,

Sounds like a good time to evaluate the entire emergency grid and exactly who are the people in charge and what are their real qualifications.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, I think 911 did everything right. You are looking for things to make political points. The call was not cut off. The call hung up. There is a difference.

Anonymous said...

Actually the poster is right and you are covering up for McClure. The real news reported it correctly. The 911 call was in progress and abruptly cut off. The 911 center attempted to call back the number but there was no answer. Did the 911 operator inform or did they not inform the police of that sequence of events. If not they screwed up royally.

Stop covering your political friends asses.

Anonymous said...

Nick Divietro was a notorious thug who made Frank Rizzo look like a choir boy.
In those days Palmer P.D. was the only regional force more brutal and lawless than Easton’s.

Larry Palmer was Peter Principled when he was promoted above patrolman in the EPD.
His record speaks for itself.
This isn’t hardly breaking news.

D.A. Morganille looks like a clown engaged in a third rate coverup in this sorry episode.
It’s sad to witness.

Anonymous said...

I'm not reading all of the comments however, 1st I would get a drawing or picture without the fanciful mustache. Also get cadaver dogs, he probably took his own life.

Anonymous said...

Easton, West Easton, Wilson, now Palmer- what the heck goes on over there? We in the civilized northwest are almost embarrassed to be part of the same county. Good grief!

Anonymous said...

JM cannot let tis be his end of a career story. He knows they screwed up big time. He also knows he cannot help these guys.

Anonymous said...

“Heck of a job, Brownie.”