Coaldale police have new ammunition in the war on crime, thanks to a local bank.
Jim Thorpe National Bank has donated the money for a custom-made computer to the department. It replaces the department's previous computer, bought for $150 on eBay about five or six years ago, said Chief Tim Delaney.
"You'd sit here, you'd download or try to access something, and you'd go in, get a drink, come back, and you'd still be waiting," he said. "This new one is lightning-quick."
The state-of-the-art computer was manufactured by the Dexter Corp., Virginia, and was delivered in April, Delaney said.
"It can run four or five applications at once, very fast, without waiting. Everything is instant. It saves a lot of time," he said.
The applications include law enforcement specific programs such as J-NET (the Pennsylvania Justice Network information technology program that allows police to instantly compare offender watch lists); crash reporting and access to the state police UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting) database.
Although the bank has since moved to neighboring Lansford, President/CEO Craig Zurn said "we may have left the borough, but we still have a presence there."
Before the bank moved, Zurn told Coaldale police that if they needed anything, to just call.
"And that's how it happened," he said. "We got a request, and we told them to go out and get what they needed and that we would pick up the tab for it."
The computer cost about $1,200, Zurn said.
"We were aware they needed something special here. It was in their best interests, and so we wanted to be able to support that. It's difficult in these economic times for these small communities and police departments to get what they need. We didn't want to limit them," he said.
The bank was located at Third and Phillips streets, a stone's throw from the police station.
"Police assisted us in our move to Lansford," Zurn said. "We had to move some safe deposit boxes, and they provided us with an escort. (The computer) was a way of thanking them for all they did for us, and to let them know we will still be there for them in the future. We're fortunate, the bank is doing well."
Zurn said Jim Thorpe National Bank routinely contributes to local communities.
"We have bought digital cameras for Lehighton, and other things for Nesquehoning and Jim Thorpe. We feel proud and honored that we can do these things," he said. "And it's mutual – they have been here for us, responding to bank robberies or other incidents, and when alarms go off. We just can't do enough for them, for what they do for us."
The community gifts also included a drug-sniffing dog for Jim Thorpe, Zurn said.
"It's who we are and what we do as a community bank," he said. "That's our philosophy, from the board of directors all the way down. Both the board and the shareholders support the bank's commitment to the communities."