EXETER — Police coverage continues to be a hot topic within the borough, and residents were provided an update on the status of the police department at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Officer-in-charge Joe Schlagel reiterated to the audience there are currently 12 part-time officers and no full-time officers.
He urged residents to be patient, as the department is doing everything it can to provide necessary protection.
“We’re working diligently to try and fix the holes that we have,” Schlagel said. “We have manpower shortage, which we are trying to fix, so be patient with us. We’re working diligently to try and fix these problems.”
While residents were appreciative of the update, they still voiced their concerns to the council about the lack of full-time officers.
“How long have we had no coverage?” asked one resident. “It’s not okay, and you guys are sitting up there saying it’s okay. I think we deserve better than pulling people out of the air. We should have a police department; we always did. What happened?”
“We’re working toward that right now,” said council chairman Rich Murawski. “We’re in the process.”
Schlagel said the borough is currently accepting and reviewing applications for more full-time officers, but said only two will be hired, indicating he would prefer to hire six.
He stressed something needs to be done to bring in more full-time police officers.
“That’s not going to save us, hiring two full-time guys,” Schlagel said. “This administration needs to make the safety and security of the town a priority; that’s the bottom line. I’m not saying it’s all of them, but at some point we need to sit down and say ‘Hey, we really need to start fixing the problem.’”
Mayor Denise Adams and the council members took time to recognize notable borough achievements.
Wyoming Area track & field standout Marc Minichello, who recently became the school’s first-ever state champion by winning the Class 3A boys javelin throw, was recognized. He was in attendance with his family and received a certificate from the council.
Jack Brogan, who was named the borough’s Citizen of the Month for June, was also recognized. He was given a plaque by Adams, who said Brogan will also be honored at the community block party event at the end of the month when he performs with Paci’s Band. Brogan was thankful to Adams and the council.
“This is a great honor,” he said. “Last time I was here (in the borough building), I paid a parking ticket.”
In other business, the council members …
• Accepted the resignation of William Harden as police commissioner, effective May 25.
• Hired John Urbanski as a part-time-as-needed police officer.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher