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A giant step backward

Published February 20. 2012 05:02PM

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the Feb. 15 story "Coaldale cuts 3 fulltime officers."

Congratulations to the members of Coaldale Borough Council for taking a giant step backward in the effort to protect the residents of this storied community.

When I left Coaldale in 1995, it was a progressive community and in one fell swoop, my family and friends who are still there will see a town where people are put at risk because of inadequate police protection.

The people who elected the members of borough council are going to be provided with police protection that resembled the way things were done in the 1950s. This isn't Mayberry. These aren't the days of penny candy theft and drag races on Route 209.

This is 2012. It's a time where domestic violence, burglary, armed robbery, home invasion, drug trafficking and sexual abuse are the crimes local cops are fighting.

This is a borough council that opted to "furlough" three full-time police officers and just keep the Police Chief on fulltime and sacrifice the protection of its residents to make up for fool-hearty financial decision. These three officers have dedicated and risked their lives for the people of Coaldale. City council rewards their efforts by taking away their livelihood, their health insurance, vacation time and pensions.

The Coaldale Police Department budget hasn't changed in four years. So why does borough council try to balance its spending on the backs of police officers, who have had guns, knives and an assortment of other weapons pulled on them while protecting the community?

People spit on cops, wrestle with them and do whatever it takes to make their job more difficult. And they keep coming back to the job every day because they love the job and they love Coaldale.

These cops know the people of Coaldale, nearly all by name. There are relationships, trusts and loyalty built there which there is no price tag.

If the borough looks at this move as "numbers crunching," then they need to seek office elsewhere. Let the members of council tell a mother whose child is the victim of a crime that the officer on the case is a part-timer and can't get back to her until the following week when he works again.

What the residents of Coaldale share with these officers, members of borough council couldn't understand. Residents respect them and appreciate their effort to make Coaldale a safer place. It's a shame council can't follow the actions of the people who elected them.

I'm sorry Councilman Joseph Hnat may suffer from the elimination of his $75 per month stipend from the borough for his service to his community. He cites that he needs the money for his fuel expenses. How big is Coaldale? While he worries about gas in his tank, he votes to eliminate a hard-working man's pension.

Who is affected more by the budget cuts?

While borough council works with blinders on, Coaldale is not the Mayberry of the 1950s. Things have changed. If you think about it, even Mayberry had two full-time officers.

Dave Walters

Zephyrhills, FL

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