Lower Mac Officials Debate Police Service

Public Safety and township commissioners met jointly to discuss public input on regional police service.

Although everyone in attendance at the Aug. 16 joint meeting of the Public Safety Commission and the Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners agreed that a mailed to the residents regarding police protection is essential, the group remained divided as to an appropriate time to send it.

All five township commissioners and the township manager joined the members of the Public Safety Commission to discuss the issue, which has been , as well as in the

Township Commissioner President Roger Reis was disappointed at the low turnout of 10 residents.

“I thought this would be more important to the residents than it obviously appears,” he said.

Reis felt the main issue was whether township residents want police service other than the Pennsylvania State Police. 

“If not,” he said, “then we stop.  If they do, we ask them what they want.”

Commissioner Ron Eichenberg was concerned that residents may not fully understand the proposed survey as it reads and; therefore, may not give accurate responses.  He recommended a series of town hall meetings throughout the township to explain the questions and provide further information and data before sending out the survey.

“I think our citizens need concrete information to reach an intelligent decision,” he said.

Commissioner Vice President Ryan Conrad suggested hiring a consultant, saying, “We need a specialist—someone who can assist us and the public make an informed decision.  It would be well worth any money spent.  This is not our field of expertise.”

Township Manager Bruce Fosselman reminded both groups that $25,000 was budgeted to do a .  An independent company could be hired as a consultant. 

The money is also there to hire a professional service to write the questions in an appropriate way for the survey in order for residents to clearly understand them, Fosselman said.

Larry Schneider, chairman of the Lower Macungie Zoning Hearing Board, agreed.

“You need to communicate with the people, then educate them and then survey them,” Schneider said.

Not everyone completely agreed, however, so after nearly two hours, the group remained divided.

They did agree, however, that the dialogue went well and there is need to meet again—possibly sometime in September.

Friends for Protection LMT August 18, 2011 at 09:54 PM
We do not believe that attendance at meetings is an indicator that people are not concerned with this issue, they definitely are! This simply isn't a 9-5 world anymore. It's impossible or incredibly inconvenient for people to devote hours to attend public meetings. For better or worse, people just do not attend public meetings en masse anymore. Other ways to engage the public should be explored. Social media for one is an excellent tool. Commissioner Conrad maintains a facebook page and frequently updates his wall with township happenings. This is the sort of method that works in today's world. This attitude was exp. frustrating during the re-zoning of the Jaindl land where little to no citizen input was gathered. You cannot assume citizens do not care about an issue because they cannot or will not attend 3 hour meetings that routinely end after 9pm. Please visit our FB page (you do not have to be a member to view!) We encourage active discussion on all township matters but exp. in regards to smart growth! www.facebook.com/friendslmt
Mary Ann Candio August 19, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Lower Macungie definitely needs a police force rather than rely totally on State Troopers who have enough to do just policing our highways. After living in Lower Macungie for 26 yrs & the state of PA for 38 yrs, I'm amazed that the people here "JUST DON'T GET IT". Where I'm from the State Police take care of the highways -- end of story!!!!!!!!
LoMac Res August 20, 2011 at 11:42 AM
The local/regional police force "issue" belongs on the back burner. We've read more than enough about the costs and headaches of maintaining a local force. A LoMac force can't be justified by cost analysis or crime statistics at this time.


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