Dear Editor:

After the horrific massacre in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut this nation once again is traumatized by the senseless taking of life, especially that of innocent young children.

No doubt the residents and parents of Newtown are like so many others in their thinking, "Something so shocking could never happen here." Well it can.

With the state of the economy in the decay it is, many politicians are forced to revise their budgets and make drastic cuts but unfortunately the targets of these cuts are what are needed most, that of the police departments. These decisions by our law makers are wrong and possibly deadly.

The crime rate across this nation is soaring and our area is no different. The amount of calls are not increasing by the year or month but by the day. With the economy failing theft is at an all-time high. Be it by shoplifting, theft of valuable metals such as copper or armed robberies. Calls for domestic disputes are off the charts with many of those calls resulting in assaults and violence. Drug trafficking is at an all time high and let us not forget about the amount of home invasions.

Cuts have already taken place in some departments and the area has paid its price. This cuts have made our area a target of crime.

Last year the Carbon and Schuylkill county area had a rash of armed robberies which could have been deadly with the suspects carrying semi - automatic hand guns. Last month we all learned of the incident at the Wal Mart in Mahoning Township with possible shots fired, again another incident which could have had deadly results.

Both of these incidents and many others have one thing in common, the perpetrators are from out of the area and why? Because the metropolitan areas from which they come have a vast police force but in our area we have the commercial businesses but a thinning police force. For criminals this is easy pickins.

The suspects of the armed robberies in the Schuylkill and Carbon counties are from Hazleton while the perpetrators of the Wal Mart incident are from Philadelphia and the greater metropolitan areas of south Jersey.

This trend will continue to grow if our police departments are ravaged.

Many politicians are of the theory that if they cut the police force they can always depend on the state police responding to an incident. Well first of all, their ranks have fallen as well. In addition state law makers have been pushing the agenda of billing the towns and townships for each response. This would really prove costly to the municipalities with the cost of law enforcement not doubling but tripling.

What many are not aware of is the mountainous amount of paper work that goes into each and every incident. For one incident it may take hours of paper and computer work. Work which leaves officers less time on the road and more behind a desk. Then there is the time meeting with the District Attorneys and testifying at the offices of the district justices and the county courts.

To the residents of our area send a message to the borough councils and township supervisors, keep our area safe. Not only maintain our police forces but in addition make sure they are staffed in accordance with the population and commercial businesses. Adequate police protection is a must for the safety of our citizens and especially our children.

Respectfully,

Larry Neff

West Penn Township