The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 24, 2012

City police answer 70% of calls

SUNBURY — Councilman Joe Bartello said he is more interested in the city figuring out why the police department is only answering 70 percent of calls as opposed to worrying about a new contract.

And he has a solution: Hire more officers.

“We need more manpower,” he said. “We could even use another car.”

Bartello said he wants to hire three new officers to help the department answer the nearly 1,000 calls the city receives each month. The department has 13 officers, including Chief Steve Mazzeo, now.

“If we can get them right out of the academy, the pay shouldn’t be that bad,” he said. “The city needs the help.”

Bartello spoke after reading monthly reports from the police department during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“If they were getting a report card grade in school, it wouldn’t be good,” he said. “I’m not sure how people are standing for this.”

Bartello said it isn’t the department’s fault.

“They just can’t take all the calls,” he said.

His remarks were made two weeks before the city and members of the Sunbury Police Association are to sit down Oct. 8 to negotiate a new contract.

According to the proposal, police officers could receive more vacation time and more sick time, Bartello said.

“That’s not going to help the city,” he said. “I don’t begrudge them anything, but we have to balance it for good service to the residents.”

Bartello blamed Mayor David Persing for failing in his oversight of the police department.

“We should be answering close to 100 percent, and there is no way the police should be only answering 70 percent,” he said. “Dave Persing is in charge of the police, and he has fallen down on this big time.”

Persing said he wouldn’t discuss the new contract until after negotiations are completed, but he did say that hiring three officers would be outrageous.

“We just can’t do that,” he said. “We don’t have the money for that.”

Bartello fired back.

“Something has to get done, and I can’t imagine we can even go forward with a new contract,” he said. “It’s just so far out of the ballpark.”

Calls to city police from January until August totaled 6,804 with 4,845 answered, according to monthly police reports. In April, the officers answered 92 percent of 800 calls.

Out of the total calls handled, 422 people were arrested and 577 cases still are under investigation.

No major violent crimes have been reported in the city since January, and police have said they answer calls in order of priority.


Text Only
  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.