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Nazareth Council Bashes Police Department -- Again

Stoudt, others up in arms over furniture left on sidewalk, gun maintenance course, police station TV.

It was police bashing night at Thursday. And judging from council's comments, it seems the police force -- which last year -- and its chief can't do anything right.

Council's beefs? Furniture on a sidewalk, the cost of a gun maintenance course, whether a borough detective is really a detective and an issue recently raised by council's police committee -- the force's television set.

This is the same police force that was nearly abolished last year. But in December, Mayor Fred Daugherty Jr. and contract wtih , which serves Lower Nazareth Township, Bath, Chapman and Hanover Township (Northampton County).

On Thursday, Council Vice President Larry Stoudt gave his report from the Public Property Committee meeting, then asked permission to bring up “the police thing.”

Council President Dan Chiavaroli gave him the go-ahead.

Stoudt said he called the non-emergency number earlier this week and made an anonymous tip about furniture -- a couch and two chairs -- that was placed in front of a business on Center Street.

“I wanted to see what kind of response I was going to get,” Stoudt said, adding that three days later, he’s still waiting for that response.

Stoudt listens to a scanner, so he knew an officer was notified about the furniture, he said.

“For three days officers have driven by there,” he half yelled. “I don’t know how they can miss it. [The furniture] is on the sidewalk.”

Stoudt explained that he placed an anonymous tip because he didn’t want the officer to handle the furniture situation just because a council member called the 911 center.

Police Chief Thomas Trachta listened but did not respond to Stoudt.

The next topic of debate was whether Det. Fred Lahovski should be paid for 12 hours of work while he attends a Smith & Wesson pistol armorer school.

The course, according to www.smith-wesson.com, teaches:

  • Disassembly and reassembly procedures
  • Parts nomenclature and function
  • Installation and fitting of new parts
  • Inspection techniques
  • Troubleshooting and repair
  • In-depth discussion of firearm safeties
  • Maintenance and Lubrication

By having Lahovski take the course, according to Trachta, the department’s guns wouldn’t need to be sent to an outside business if something breaks or malfunctions -- Lahovski would be able to do the repairs on site.

The borough of Forty Fort, Luzerne County -- where Lahovski is the -- will be paying for the course and Lahovski’s travel expenses, according to Trachta.

The only money Nazareth would have to put forward is the 12-hour pay.

Due to the uncertainty of Lahovski’s time with the Nazareth force, Councilman Jack Herbst does not believe he should be the officer to take the course.

He’d also like to shift the schedule so the borough wouldn’t have to pay Lahovski for 12 hours.

Chiavaroli suggested that before a decision is made, additional research should be done into local gunsmiths who could handle the repairs.

As the conversation about the armorer school began to wrap up, Councilman Frank Maurek asked if anyone knew when Lahovski became a detective.

“I don’t recall council ever making a motion [to make Lahovski a detective],” Maurek said. “I don’t like to use that word ‘detective.’”

According to Stoudt, the title was discussed but a motion was never made or voted on.

“That title has been thrown around quite a bit the last couple of years,” Herbst said. “It’s more or less a title. There’s no pay increase or anything like that.”

The conversation quickly ended and turned into a debate about a subject raised at a recent police committee meeting -- the television in the department. At the Jan. 23 committee meeting, Trachta television reconnected, saying it’s used for training purposes and to allow his officers to stay up to date on news and weather that may affect the borough.

Daugherty instructed a highway department employee to disconnect the cable on Jan. 20.

“My vote is going to be ‘no,’” Stoudt said. “Who’s running the borough? The chief and police department or this council sitting here running the borough? It’s time council decides who’s running the borough.”

Stoudt said he told Trachta on a Tuesday to have the television out of the department by 10 a.m. the following Friday.

“I showed up at 10 a.m. Friday morning and it was still there and it was playing,” Stoudt said. “Nobody gives a damn what we say here as council.”

The television debate will come to an end when the full council votes on whether the television stays or goes.

Council's regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6.

Lee Snover February 03, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Sounds like the council needs to make a decision on the police force. Either fish or cut bait, leaving these guys in limbo is bad for morale and is leading to contention on both sides. The council has to do what is best for the town, fiscally and from a public safety standpoint. Either have the guts to shut down the department and move to Colonial Regional, or let these guys know the department is going to be supported without this cloud over everyone's heads. Then let them do their jobs and discipline them appropriately when they don't. The current situation is simply poisonous.
Eric Harding February 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM
To be honest, this tension between the council and the police department is disgusting. The council, in my opinion, are all acting childish. I don't speak for all Nazareth residents, but I do know that most want NPD to stay. The mayor and council members need to pull their heads from their rears and focus on what really matters. IMHO, give the police what they need within reason. A TV should be there, that detective should go to training... Stop playing these games. I agree with Lee Snover's comment as well. Something needs to be done to solve this. I know Larry Stoudt is not one of the people I would ever vote for again. And Daugherty, your head is on that chopping block too. Get your $h1* together gentlemen... and fast.
richard troxell February 04, 2012 at 05:49 PM
time to get outside help. time for all the records to be open and made public. Top to bottom. broken down in every detail. . The people of nazareth deserve to be informed and represented. As any American taxpayer does. this is crazy. I listen to council. I listen to people I know and don'tknow. All seem concerned. Few voice their opinion outside of private conversations. The council chambers should in no way be big enough to hold public mtgs. And all council members should be held responsible for their conduct both inside council and their private life. The code of conduct should be at the very least respectful of the taxpayers of the Borough. Both private and buisness.
Shawn Heller February 08, 2012 at 07:35 AM
I agree with Mr. Harding, sounds like the mayor and council have serious issues with the NPD, and mainly the Chief of police, who for a township as small as Upper Nazareth is probably not making a chiefs salary. If I were Chief Trachta, I would resign and let the mayor and council run the Police Department. And if the Mayor has a T.V. in his office with cable, then the NPD should as well. Being a former resident of New Jersey, and the remembering the attacks on 9-11 if you didn't have a television you would not have a clue what happened. Yea the chief should have a television with cable to see whats going on.

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