The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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July 10, 2014

City seeks $100G for 14th cop

Nearly 33% of force temporarily off beat

— SUNBURY — With up to a third of its 13-person police force on either administrative leave, vacation or rehabilitating from injuries, Sunbury is seeking state and federal grants to cover the $100,000 cost associated with hiring a 14th officer, Mayor David Persing said.

The city police department has had three chiefs in two months.

Steve Mazzeo was demoted after six years and replaced by acting Chief Brad Hare, who has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation takes place into his shooting suspect Erick Trometter, 22, on Tuesday.

Hare could be off work for six weeks.

Sgt. Chris Blase has been promoted to acting chief.

Blase’s task: Solving a series of residential burglaries in the Hill Neighborhood, and business burglaries, as well as fighting the drugs being pushed all over the city.

Sunbury received a $200,000 grant for surveillance cameras, which have been placed throughout the city at undisclosed locations.

One of those cameras could have been on a pump station near Tuesday’s shooting site along Mile Post Road, just outside the city. In a preliminary plan in 2012, when city officials were discussing where to place cameras, Mazzeo and then-Councilman Todd Snyder decided to place cameras on every point of entry to and exit from Sunbury.

Today there are cameras near Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Edison Bridge.

The mayor said he would consider whether the pump station area would need a camera.

“We aren’t going to have a camera everywhere in the city,” Persing said. “We are not going to catch every person coming in and out of the city. The incident on Tuesday will make us take a look at that location now, but I want residents to know the cameras are helping us. We are getting what we wanted from them. The goal always was to have it as a base and build off it.”

More importantly, Persing said, is that he wants more police officers.

“I will admit the city is changing,” he said. “But it is not just Sunbury. It is changing everywhere and some of these things happening in Sunbury have gotten ahead of us, but that will stop.”

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