East Wash police department subject of study

March 6, 2013

A management study of the East Washington Borough Police Department, which in 2011 lost an officer in the line of duty and had its police chief arrested for extortion, is set to begin.

The Local Government Center, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, will undertake the four- to six-month study at no cost to the borough. Salary and travel expenses of the peer consultant are paid by the state.

Ron Stern, local government policy specialist, and Peters Township police Chief Harry Fruecht attended Monday’s borough council meeting to explain how the program works. Fruecht works as a consultant for the government center and will act as a peer consultant on the study.

Stern said they will take a look at every aspect of the department, from its operating costs to how uniform crime reporting is documented, how evidence is cataloged, what equipment is used and how personnel files are kept.

“We’re going to hone in on what improvements we think need to be made,” he said.

Councilman Jeff Bull said in light of all that had happened with the police department, council thought it prudent to have a review before naming a new police chief.

Two events in 2011 shook the small borough. One was the October arrest of police Chief Donald Solomon on federal charges of extortion. Two months later, Officer J. David Dryer was killed in the line of duty.

Mark Griffith has been serving as acting police chief, and Bull said he has “done a great job.”

Borough council voted in June to have the study done, but Mayor Mark Pacilla said he had been busy with his business and needed help from council to get the paperwork submitted.

He said he was pleased council had stepped up and completed the process.

“If they find something we’re not doing that can be of benefit for the borough, terrific,” Pacilla said of the study.

Bull said council believed they owed it to taxpayers to make sure the police department is operating correctly and efficiently.



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