A Pennsylvania state trooper who spoke out last Tuesday at Coaldale Borough Council against its decision to get rid of its full-time police department has been reprimanded by his superiors.
Frackville State Trooper Edward Sanchez, whose barracks covers Coaldale when police are not available, told council that the lack of a full-time police presence may cause the borough to end up like the "notoriously crime-ridden city of Hazleton."
"We see larger boroughs ... an example is Hazleton, with the gangs, and with the drugs, with the crime, with the stabbings, with the shootings," Sanchez said last week. "All it takes is for a small borough to take that one step toward letting that criminal element start to take hold, and you can't turn back. My suggestion would be, you really need your police department in full force."
Sanchez said he was told to attend the meeting, but said he was not told why.
Hazleton officials said he was there because he was told to show council members reports of incidents that happened within the borough.
According to the Hazleton Standard Speaker, Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi spoke out about the remarks made by Sanchez, calling them "misleading."
He said that the city has its problems, much like any other city, but Sanchez's remarks to Coaldale Council made it sound like "Hazleton is the origin of crime."
Hazleton currently has an active police force in place.
Coaldale has a part-time force as well as state police covering the borough. This is due to council's Feb. 14, 2012, decision to furlough its three full-time police officers.