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?
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?
As a homeowner, husband, and father who has chosen to live and work in center city, I know the importance of public safety in our city. In a Pawlowski Administration, public safety (i.e.: police, fire, and EMT) will be the highest priority.
For a crime to occur, three things are necessary: A Perpetrator, A Victim and A Place. By denying any one of these elements, (apprehending criminals, teaching people to avoid placing themselves in a dangerous environment, or changing those environments (lighting, fencing, removal of abandon properties, etc.), we can prevent the occurrence of crime.
To do this, a Pawlowski administration would deploy the following strategy to reduce crime:
I. Development of a Comprehensive Community Policing Plan
Change must be top down and bottom up! The development of a comprehensive plan for community policing is a critical first step in reducing crime and as Mayor I would solicit input from residents, command staff and uniformed officers to develop a comprehensive community policing plan as part of an overall strategy for the department's operations. Other cities have completed such plans and guidance and information is readily available. The Pennsylvania Regional Community Institute is one of 32 national institutes funded by the U.S. Dept. of Justice with offices in Allentown and Pittsburgh are in position to provide invaluable technical assistance at no cost to the city. We must utilize this and other resources as we strive to have the preeminent police dept. in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
II. Utilize Crime Statistics and Information Proactively
Utilizing computer technology and crime data collection, we can most efficiently direct our personnel resources. User-friendly evaluation instruments can gauge effectiveness and efficiency. The annual Uniform Crime Code Report only tells us so much. By effectively using information technology police officers can make systematic and informed, tactical decisions on a weekly or even daily, basis. This type of data driven problem solving allows the department to focus their limited resources on the areas of greatest need.
III. Streamlining Department Command Structure
The Pawlowski administration would streamline the department's management structure, and re-deploy scarce resources to support the maximum number of officers on the street.
IV. Increasing Community Presence and Involvement
The 'C' must come before the 'P' in Community Policing. We must break down the "us-them" paradigm. Citizens must be actively involved and the police must accept and utilize this involvement. A police department that's accessible and a community that's involved is a winning recipe for Allentown.
One way to do this is by reinstating walking and bicycle patrols. Allentown shut down its bicycle patrols in 2002 and eliminated neighborhood police officers as part of a department restructuring aimed at deploying the maximum available force at critical patrol hours. These bikes patrols were a popular tactical element of community policing, which I feel, need to be deployed in a new community policing strategy. The city still has this equipment and as Mayor I will unlock the storage room where the police department's bicycle equipment has been sitting unused for years and put law enforcement officers back on two wheels.
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?
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?