The Mahoning Township supervisor's meeting was standing room only Monday as Police Chief Kenneth Barnes recognized and presented commendations to two police officers. The officers were recognized for recovering a stolen competition motorcycle and assisting in breaking a burglary ring in Lehighton.
In addition, two area residents who worked in the township and prevented a woman from losing more than $4,600 in a con game recently, were also honored.
"It is not often enough that I get to do this, but I'm really proud tonight to recognize and publicly commend two of my police officers and two residents in this township who went above and beyond their duty to help their fellow citizens," said Barnes before presenting the awards.
He first introduced township resident Stacey Wisler and her son who presented a thank-you letter and a framed picture to police Officers Tyler Meek and Elliot Miller for their swift investigation and recovery of her son's motorcycle, which he used for competition and needed in two days for his race. The son went on to place sixth in the race that weekend and was eternally grateful to the policemen for going above and beyond the call of duty to find and return his bike in time for the race.
"I want to publicly thank the officers for recovering my bike," he said during the presentation of the photograph.
After the family presented their photograph to the officers, Chief Barnes presented each of them with a commendation for going above and beyond the call of duty to solve the theft of the bike, which led to charges against two Lehighton juveniles. In addition, their thorough police work contributed and aided the Lehighton Police Department in solving a string of daytime robberies in the community, also allegedly committed by the same juveniles. As the chief presented the commendations, the standing room only attendees gave the police a loud round of applause.
Next, Barnes introduced two local employees of township businesses who prevented an elderly woman from losing $4,600 during a scam being perpetrated by a person posing as a Dominican Republic police officer. Giant supermarket employee Nicki Bower of Jim Thorpe and Rite Aid employee Debbie Rex of Lehighton were presented with 2010 Citizen Crime Prevention Awards from Barnes for thwarting the theft of the elderly woman's savings.
Barnes said the woman, who was told her granddaughter was in trouble by a police impostor, went to Giant first where Bower refused to wire the money telling her she was being scammed. The woman went home and received another call from the impostor who told her to go to Rite Aid instead. When she did, Rex also refused to help her and insisted she notify the police.
The commendations given by Barnes recognized the women for going out of their way to prevent the crime from occurring and to thank them for being alert citizens in helping out their neighbor.
Also on hand was Mahoning Valley Ambulance Association President Bob Miller who recognized township Officers Miller, Long, Mertz, Meek and Frace for their assistance and professionalism during the many calls with which they have assisted before the start of the year. Miller thanked the police for their invaluable assistance and offered his deep appreciation on behalf of the volunteers.
Chairman John Wieczorek said he was proud of the police department and the officers for their dedication and service to the community.