Chief: New additions will help department

Published: December 18, 2005 11:21 pm Police Patch

The Tribune-Democrat

With an expanded police force, borough police Chief Randy Cox said the department is sharpening its focus on traffic patrol and halting drug trafficking. “When you’re stretched too thin, you don’t have time to do the basics,” Cox said. The numbers show the need for more officers: Year to date, the borough’s crime rate has increased 33 percent from 2004 figures through November.

The increased force and the K-9 unit should help, he said.

This year, the department lost two longtime officers who were officers-in-charge – James Hahn and Clifford Pile – and hired four full-time officers, as well as adding a police dog. One more part-time police officer to be appointed early next year should free another officer to devote his or her shift to traffic patrol.

“The officers were going from call to paperwork, call to paperwork, and not being able to do routine patrol and officer presence,” Cox said. “The greater the officer presence, the more rapport we have with citizens, the greater intelligence we’ll have.”

Officers should have more time to dedicate to crime-fighting, especially thwarting drug dealing. Cox cited the average daily population of about 41,000 – more than eight times the number of residents – as justification for a police force with seven full-timers, eight part-timers and a police dog.

The turnpike interchange brings thousands of motorists, as well as big-city crime, but it’s an increased heroin problem that Cox says is the root of higher numbers of crimes.

“It’s drugs,” he said. “There’s no question.” To rid the borough of drug use and the crimes that stem from it, Cox said his force is aiming to thwart dealers. “We want to make the borough as inhospitable to drug-dealers as possible,” he said. “The dog is part of it,” he said. “Now, if an officer pulls someone over and has reasonable suspicion, the dog can check around the car. Just the idea of the dog will get out there on the street.”

Extra time to investigate is another component. “Dealing drugs is like a business venture. You have to look at investments, risk and chance for success,” Cox said. “We want to up the risk factor to make it not worth selling in the borough.”

Cox named three new officers-in-charge to replace Hahn and Pile. Richard Appel is the officer-in-charge for criminal investigations. Stephen Borosky is officer-in-charge for administration and Phillip Staib is officer-in-charge for patrol. New full-timers include Aaron Folton and Appel.

The changes mean a fulfilled childhood dream for Officer Tony Novak, whose full-time status was approved Dec. 12 at a council meeting. Novak will have served as a part-time borough officer for 13 years when he is promoted to full time in January. “I’m thrilled. I’ve been here through three chiefs and have seen a lot of growth,” Novak said. The wait will be worth it, especially for an officer who has struggled with dyslexia, Novak said. “It just shows an individual should always follow their dreams and never lose faith,” he said.

The second newest officer to be promoted to full time, Brian Harbart, found out that he would be the K-9 officer the same day he got word of his promotion. The German shepherd, Arny, will be training with Harbart until February.

Kecia Bal can be reached at 445-5103 or

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