It's pretty well known that Lansford has serious financial troubles. Paying an extra salary to a suspended police officer is a hardship for the community.
The borough has been doing this for some time, although it isn't the fault of the borough council.
Between July 10 and Dec. 23 of 2012, a police office allegedly had inappropriate contact with a teen-age boy. That's a full year ago.
An investigation ensued, and the police officer was placed on administrative leave as of Dec. 26, 2012, meaning he was still collecting his salary. We don't know when the investigation began.
The officer was arrested on Nov. 5. He is still collecting his salary. Borough council is expected to discuss this at its meeting this week.
We understand that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. We also know it took a long time from when the investigation began until charges were filed all the while Lansford was paying his salary.
First, why should such an investigation take so long? Was it the police investigation that took such a long length of time? Was it the district attorney's office that took its time approving the charges?
The public, who is paying this interim salary, deserves answers.
The second problem in regards to the same question is how could a teen be so victimized and be made to endure having the alleged known perpetrator running around on his free will for so long -- no charges filed, no bail set, and no stipulations such as staying away from the victim?
The allegations are serious, but yet only misdemeanor charges were filed. For example, the defendant engaged in sexual relations with the victim when he was 17 years old. The affidavit says the defendant invited the victim to his home to consume alcohol. Are these misdemeanor offenses?
The defendant contacted the victim and advised that there was a warrant for the victim's arrest for "deviant sexual intercourse," and that the defendant also used his status as a police officer to gain access to the residence of the victim's girlfriend.
There was a juvenile involved. And, according to the police complaint, there was a rogue officer -- a policeman whose alleged actions bring a bad rap to the profession.
So, it took a long time to prosecute this policeman, leaving the victim potentially vulnerable.
And, again, the taxpayers were paying the salary to this officer while the investigation was going on.
This all seems so unfair.
They call it justice, but for whom? Not the victim. Not the taxpayers of Lansford. Not even for his fellow police officers.
Most police officers work hard to serve and protect. Most can be trusted.
When a situation like the above mentioned occurs, and the chain of events to prosecute him move slowly and ineffectively, it makes everyone doubt the system.
Hopefully, when trial occurs it will be determined the events didn't occur as stated in the accusations; that the police officer is innocent.
But the charges are too serious to take lightly. Certainly some will argue that that's why prosecution took so long; because the case isn't being treated lightly. That a thorough investigation has to occur.
On the other hand, the officer was allowed to be a free man too long and the taxpayers paid out too much money if the charges prove to be true.
By RON GOWER