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Nazareth Borough Council Revisits Buying Police Coverage

Nazareth Borough Council will revisit the option of contracting police services from a neighboring municipality; the borough will reach out to Upper Nazareth, Bushkill and Palmer townships, in addition to Colonial Regional Police.

Nazareth Borough wants an outside source to provide police services, and will ask six municipalities -- three of which make up Colonial Regional Police -- to provide a proposal detailing the services available.

Nazareth Borough Council on Monday unanimously approved a motion to send a “Request for Proposal” to Upper Nazareth, Bushkill and Palmer townships. Colonial Regional Police, and each municipality that makes up the department, will also be included.

Nazareth Mayor Fred Daugherty Jr. in December 2011 withdrew his recommendation to buy coverage from Colonial Regional Police after negotiations failed to move forward.

This time around, the borough has guidelines it would like each municipality to keep in mind:

  • Three-year contract at a cost not to exceed $2.8 million.
  • The borough’s three full-time officers must be added to the police department of the contracting municipality with wages and benefits at least equal to the current Nazareth police contract.

    Police Chief -- $67,830
    Patrolman (over 6 years) -- $59,660
    Patrolman (after 4 years) -- $55,979
  • The contracting municipality must agree to lease and operate a substation at 134 S. Main St.
  • The contracting municipality agrees to periodic foot patrols in the business district and business checks.
  • Nazareth Borough Council shall be permitted to appoint a liaison to attend all Police Committee meetings and receive all correspondence.

The deadline to reply is Dec. 31.

The decision to dig deeper into the option of contracting police services, according to Council President Dan Chiavaroli, was made after merger talks led to a dead end.

Korine Behler, a Nazareth resident who recently has been outspoken on the ongoing policing issue, tried to understand why Council isn’t interested in rebuilding the Nazareth Borough Police Department.

“I think [Police Chief Thomas Trachta is] perfectly capable of making a run of it,” Behler said. “Give him a year. Give him a say with who he’s hiring. I think that should be a big part of it. Is there something I’m missing? Why isn’t [rebuilding the borough’s department] an option? I don’t understand.”

Marlene Stanat echoed Behler’s sentiment. 

“Why can’t we just strengthen our own police department,” she wondered. “Our police department is trying to give us coverage. Why rely on other people when we have a police department that’s capable?... We need people who know us. We need people who know the circumstances of Nazareth and know what’s happening in Nazareth. What does [Palmer Township] know about us?” 

Councilman Jack Herbst, who is also the chairman of Council's Police Committee, admitted that it remains to be seen if contracting services will save the borough money.

“At this point in time, we don’t know if it will save us money or not,” Herbst said. “It depends on the proposals we get back. Once we get the proposals, we will see what is best for the community.” 

If contracting services doesn’t work out, the councilman -- prompted by Behler -- stopped short of saying his colleagues would revisit the idea of rebuilding the borough’s department. 

Herbst said, “If it comes back that the services aren’t what we want, then…”

Council will hold a special meeting at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6. The purpose of the meeting is to interview candidates for a seat recently vacated by the Rev. William Matz.

rick troxell December 04, 2012 at 11:24 AM
been here, done that. Now we all get to wait until after the new year to see what councils agenda is for us. Year after year, after year. Come on, they already have the plan I would bet. Anyone care to guess? Everyone have a SAFE and Joyous Holiday.
Ben Miller December 04, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Three things... 1. What is the purpose in sending proposals to the municipalities that have already contracted with Colonial Regional? Is it to attempt to persuade them to break their contract with Colonial Regional and start a new department with Nazareth? How does the Mayor and Council expect that is going to play out with the decision makers at Colonial Regional? 2. Once again, Nazareth is under the misguided notion that they have the bargaining power to dictate unreasonable terms and tell these other municipalities plus Colonial Regional what they will and will not do. These other municipality and Colonial Regional leaders are not stupid, nor are they blind. They know the dire straights Nazareth's police force is in right now. To demand they hire the Police Chief at just under $68,000 a year is asinine, as is the demand for a lease payment for a substation at City Hall, where the Mayor of Nazareth will be able to inject himself and interfere. 3. The one single thing the Mayor and Council should have made a priority, doesn't even seem to be part of the proposal- two roving patrols of Nazareth Borough, 24 hours a day.
Kaos8 December 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I worked with all of these police departments for many years, they are all good departments. However, why would you want to contract out? Palmer Twp is a fairly busy department, Bushkill Twp is a good sized police force and all very capable for handling a variety of situations. Many of the patrons of Nazareth live here in Bushkill, like I do..Bushkill Police are familiar with many of the frequent fliers (constant problem people), as is Upper Nazareth and Colonial Regional w/ Lower Nazareth. So I guess my thought is, if you have to pull an officer from one of these departments to cover Nazareth, who has quite a lot going on for a small town, with many bars, domestic violence regularly, drugs and whatever else is in town now, plus the business checks - who is covering the other jurisdictions? Another big problem is, if there is a situation in Palmer or any other dept- that Nazareth stationed officer is going to get pulled to go the "big" incident. So then you are looking at your "local" officer being pulled out of jurisdiction. This happens with Colonial Regional regularly. It was almost a daily occurance where it would hit the fan and everyone is heading to that call..leaving whatever jurisdiction that they were covering. At least if you let Nazareth Police stay, you know you have constant coverage, you just have to let Trachta have control and a budget to work with.
Kaos8 December 04, 2012 at 08:21 PM
No matter how you look at it, you have to spend money. All I can say is look at the big picture. Maybe see if you could do a "Ride Along" with Colonial Regional or Palmer or sit in at the 911 Center, and actually see what these bigger departments do all day. I really think you will rethink your ideas of even considering letting another department handle your police matters. If people on here are complaining about response times, and there is a lot of things going on in Nazareth right now that need regular attention.
JASON GABRIEL December 04, 2012 at 10:39 PM
What I dont understand is that the requests council is making, is exactly what they had being done in 07 thru 08, by NAZARETH full time officers. We did this despite the additional duties of patrols, answering calls and also traffic enforcement that was ordered by council members through the chief. What changed so drastically that prevents that from being done today? Oh thats right, council took upon itself to release or fire working officers that were getting the job done! Why arent people flocking to the part time ads for police being placed by the Borough? Because of the constant political infighting and strife within! That, combined with the FACT that police work is inherently dangerous, and part time jobs carry NO BENEFITS or retirement. Nazareth HAS grown ladies and gentlemen, as has its criminal elements. That is inevitable. What is preventable, is that council STOP meddling within department affairs, STOP creating a stagnant enviornment as a retaliation and GO FORWARD in a direction that they once had: AND RUINED, TO BETTER PROTECT THIER OWN PERSONAL INTERESTS.
rick troxell December 05, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Valid points all but it is not what council wants. They have had the ability to hire and have not. They have created the legal expenses. Not past or present officers. They have chosen to refrain from their duty for years now. Wht exactly has happen to the money they have saved and how much have they lost through poor advice and decisions.
rick troxell December 05, 2012 at 12:33 AM
The burden belongs to the council.some not all but it does fall on the council and their advisors.
rm December 05, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Rick, Has the borough ever undergone a forensic audit? It would be interesting to see where the money budgeted for the police was spent. It would be more interesting to see where all the money budgeted for the borough was spent over the last ten years.
rick troxell December 05, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Rm. Good question. Having googled it and now know what it is ir sure would be interesting. Will have to research that much further. Thanks
JASON GABRIEL December 05, 2012 at 08:40 PM
The motion for this action was started by councilman HERBST, ok thats allright. How though, does a second come from a man, on bail and judicial order preventing him from influencing the police dept? Wow, thats a huge conflict of interest.
alivettg December 06, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Yes, I see your point! Wow
rick troxell December 08, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Odd how they are willing to increase the budget a couple hundred thousand a year to go outside for coverage but not do the same with our own. Really???? What exactly is the real truth here? The decision has already been made and they are just waiting for the legal committments to expire and the deal is done I would bet.

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