By Michael DiVittorio / photo by Jennifer Vertullo – McKeesport Daily News
Glassport Police Department has new leadership.
Council promoted Sgt. Cliff LaFever to police chief at a special meeting on Wednesday.
Councilman Eugene Skerkoski made the motion which was seconded by councilwoman Anna Kudla.
It was one of several police personnel moves approved by a 6-0 vote. Councilman Paul Trunzo was absent.
LaFever, a Dravosburg native, officially replaces Howard Kifer as chief on Friday.
“It’s a great feeling because I think the council and mayor (Rosemary Bradley) and I share a vision and we’d like to see the department move forward,” LaFever said. “I’d like to take it to the next level. I’m not originally from here, but I love Glassport. I’ve been here for 10 years. I have more friends here in Glassport than I ever had where I grew up. There’s a lot of good people here … I want to get the community more involved. I’m a big supporter of crime watch. I think it’s a great thing. We can’t do this by ourselves. We need the citizens’ help.”
LaFever started his law enforcement career in Dravosburg in 1992 when the borough had its own force. It’s currently patrolled by McKeesport police.
By Jennifer R. Vertullo – McKeesport Daily News
With donations from a local civic organization, Clairton Police Department purchased new materials for use in crime scene response and investigation.
Wilson American Citizens Club donated a portion of its annual proceeds to cover equipment and supplies to be used in the police department’s crime scene and multi-use vehicles.
Donated items include a generator, power tools, a metal detector, lights, ladders, crime scene markers, narcotics identification kits, fingerprint powder and other supplies.
“The equipment is greatly appreciated,” police Chief Rob Hoffman said. “These are items that can be used in crime scene investigation, (Department of Transportation) inspections and in other daily situations. It shows that businesses and the people of Clairton care about this department.”
Harry Fulmer, a member of the Wilson club, said it’s important for local businesses and community organizations to support police.
“How much more civic minded can you be than to donate to a police department that needs it,” Fulmer said. “It’s going to a good cause.”
By Jeffrey Benzing – Public Source / Observer-Reporter
The five counties with the worst fingerprinting rates in the state have the same amount of fingerprinting equipment as the five best counties, Linda Rosenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, told lawmakers today.
A recent PublicSource review of data from 2013 showed that fingerprints were missing from the Pennsylvania State Police fingerprinting database for more than 30,000 cases. The areas with the biggest problems, Luzerne, McKean, Lawrence, Northumberland and Erie Counties, were missing prints for at least a third of all cases in the last half of the year.
Many police departments complain that they don’t have access to fingerprinting equipment, which can cost about $37,000 initially, and thousands more in yearly maintenance and staffing.
But the least compliant counties have roughly equivalent equipment to those with the best records of fingerprinting: Philadelphia, Clinton, Beaver, Lebanon and Lehigh.
“So they have the same amount of equipment, they just aren’t doing it?” Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, asked during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in Harrisburg.
Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State Police today took delivery of the first two of six Bell 407GX helicopters. The new helicopters will be used for airborne law enforcement patrol and operations to enhance service to the citizens of the commonwealth.
“We operate six aviation patrol units across the state and provide aerial support to all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies within the state,” said Noonan. “It is very important that we have modern, reliable and mission-ready helicopters to patrol and serve the citizens of the commonwealth,” said Noonan.
Several new components on each aircraft will enable the Pennsylvania State Police to more rapidly and effectively pinpoint exact ground locations from the air. The new helicopters are also able to provide interoperable radio communications with ground-based first responders, which operate on several radio frequencies.
The new capabilities provide real time situational awareness to incident commanders and first responders during times of critical incidents or disasters. These systems will aid in public information and warning, operational coordination, intelligence and information sharing, criminal activity disruption, screening and search and detection.
By David Burcham – New Castle News
NEW CASTLE — It’s obvious that Mahoning Township Police Officer Brian Magliocca and his K-9 partner are in sync.
“It’s like we can read each other’s minds,” Magliocca said.
Magliocca and Vex, a 90-pound German Shepherd that came to the United States in 2013, even speak the same language — Dutch. Magliocca voices commands in that tongue because that’s how Vex was trained in Slovakia.
Vex’s tail was injured on his way to America. Part of it has been removed. That blemish caused other departments to choose another options. Magliocca said it has been their loss and pure gain for Mahoning Township.
Magliocca, 27, leaped at the opportunity to work with Vex, joining him for a six-week training session last July. “It was an opportunity that I just had to take,” Magliocca said.
Vex, who is about to turn three, spent eight previous weeks drilling at the Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville. Magliocca said canines are tested for the right character, balanced drives, nerves and temperaments. Vex passed with flying colors. The cost of the training was approximately $15,000, with another $3,000 needed to make the necessary changes to a police cruiser.
The addition of Vex has clearly expanded the capabilities of a small department that is led by Chief Jim Morris and includes Officer Richard Conti.
“A small department doesn’t usually have the means to have a canine officer,” Morris said. “I consider us very lucky.”
Police departments in New Castle and Neshannock are the only others in Lawrence County to utilize a dog.
By Mike Jones – Observer-Reporter
North Strabane Township’s new police chief is once again asking for township officials to approve the purchase of more than $60,000 in new equipment he thinks is needed to upgrade the department.
Chief Brian Hughes asked township supervisors during their Tuesday night workshop meeting to consider spending $60,835 to buy new rifles, shotguns, stop sticks and office equipment so officers can use them immediately.
Supervisors Robert Balogh, Marcus Staley and Sonia Stopperich voted against a similar request last month and asked for more information from the chief about the spending. Hughes said he removed his Taser line item and lowered the amount of shotguns and office equipment in his request.
“In my opinion, the above equipment is very important to our operations and is needed as soon as possible,” Hughes said.
The biggest items are $27,000 for new patrol rifles and $14,000 for semiautomatic shotguns that will replace “pump-action” versions and be stored in every police cruiser. He said both are weapons that can be purchased by citizens at local gun shops, so his officers need to be properly equipped for any situation. He added the patrol rifles also include specialized scopes and other hardware.