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Jim Thorpe officials pleased with results of police study

Published December 30. 2011 05:02PM

The Jim Thorpe Police Department recently took part in a Police Management Study which reviewed the department's structure and operational procedures by utilizing statistical data, surveys, and interviews.

The study was conducted by Richard Garipoli, a Peer-to-Peer Management Consultant for the Governors Center for Local Government Services (GCLGS).

The study was funded by a state grant given by the GCLGS. Schatz worked with the offices of Senator John Yudichak and Governor Tom Corbett to attain the grant for the study.

The management study reviewed the police department in terms of organization, staffing, administrative services, investigations, patrols, field operations, personnel, policies, leadership, and budget policies.

Mayor Michael Sofranko and Police Chief Joseph Schatz approached the GCLGS about conducting the study. Schatz stated that he wanted to study how the department was moving.

"I wanted to see if the department was moving in a positive or negative way," he said.

He added that it is important for the department to run as smoothly and organized as it can.

"Our job and mission is to protect and serve the residents of Jim Thorpe," said.

The study started in July and the report was given in October.

Garipoli interviewed officers of the police department, members of borough council, Mayor Sofranko, Borough Manager Wesley Johnson, and Magisterial District Judge Edward Lewis. He also interviewed numerous citizens of Jim Thorpe.

Schatz was very pleased with the outcome of the report.

"The study gives me information to set my goals for the department," he said.

The report discussed the positives of the department as well as certain recommendations for the department. The report also discusses the structure and procedures of the department compared to 'professionally accepted standards.'

The report stated that Garipoli spoke with people visiting the borough and he found that visitors felt the police in Jim Thorpe were very professional. He also stated that through his interviews residents felt secure with the service of the department.

Garipoli observed through the interviews with government officials, that the chief reports police activities and community outreach more now then in the past.

The report also reviewed crime information in the borough. The report states that for 2010 the violent crime rate is low.

It is also stated that "rapes, murders, robberies, and crimes committed with firearms rarely occur in the borough limits." The report concluded that Jim Thorpe is a safe place to live.

It also discussed the dynamic between the mayor and police department.

Sofranko stated the department follows an administrative style. The chief runs the department and the mayor is supportive of the work of the chief and officers.

"We work together," said Sofranko.

The report also made some recommendations. One recommendation involved the holding cell in the police department and some changes that should be made to it.

Another recommendation talked about the department keeping up with different kinds of training, including human resource training.

The report also talked about the chief having a 3-5 year plan to present to borough council about the direction the department is going.

Updating the department website, especially in terms of making it more interactive for the residents, was also recommended.

The report states, "As referenced previously, the protection of the community is the most important and primary function of any government unit. The fact that the Jim Thorpe Borough has sought to improve these services is indicative of a true commitment to their residents and their community."

The report also said how Schatz strives for the best for the community and the officers.

Sofranko stated he was pleased with the report.

"It was a worthwhile study. It showed us some pros and cons and put everything on the table," he added.

Schatz stated, "The study had opinions on different approaches the borough might want to take down the road in a long range plan."

Both Sofranko and Schatz wanted to thank borough council for all the support they give the police department. They also wanted to thank all of the officers for their hard work for the department and for Jim Thorpe.

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