The second in a series on the issues facing Allentown's next Mayor. The second issue: Public Safety.
QUESTION 1: Allentown has seen the number of serious crimes increase in each of the last four years. How do you plan to reduce the city's crime rate?
QUESTION 2: Under Chief Stephen Kuhn, Allentown did away with its system of distinct community police officers, closing neighborhood offices and putting more police on patrols. Officers on patrol in newly mapped patrol areas are instead required to interact with the community while not responding to calls. What would "community policing" look like under your administration?
QUESTION 3: After increasing the city's complement of police officers to about 230, Mayor Roy Afflerbach was forced to keep some positions open and lay off eight 8 officers in December, reducing the size of the force to about 220 officers. Will you increase the size of the police force, keep it the same or decrease it. If you increase it, how will you pay for it?
QUESTION 4: The Afflerbach administration has been criticized for allowing the police department to become top-heavy with highly paid supervisors. Would you reorganize the leadership structure of the department. If so, how?
Crime question: As we all know the increase in crime in our City is a societal problem, where words like respect, shame and curtsy are only words in a dictionary we will continue to have increasing crime. In a society where authorities find excuses for unacceptable behavior we can only expect more crime.
Our Allentown police force is well trained and capable of serving our community. The return to a community neighborhood police program is critical, but the format should be changed. I see a need for a precinct type format with a senior officer in charge of each of four units if the program is to be effective. The police must have an arsenal of supplies to meet their required needs i.e. bicycles, motor cycles, cars as condititions dictate. The present police force, if properly deployed, should be able to fulfill the needs of the City.
To be sure the police force can't do it alone they will continue to look to community organizations i.e. neighborhood groups, crime watch groups and other concerned citizens for their continued vigilance of their neighborhoods. Programs like CUNA and Weed and Seed need our support if they are to be effective.
As for cost, most people are willing to pay for the needed protection. What the Tax payer is not willing to pay for are frivolous and unnecessary expenditures. The citizens want the quality of life laws enforced.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times