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Mayor Defends Putting GPS Units in Police Cars

Lehigh County is in the process of installing GPS systems in police cars throughout the county but only the county and the officers in the cars are able to see it in real time.

Macungie Mayor Rick Hoffman again asked Borough Council at its April 2 meeting to fund the GPS system he wants to install in all borough police cars, and again council’s vote on the idea was postponed.

This time the mayor brought to the table estimates for three companies’ versions. The most economical would cost Macungie taxpayers just under $2,000 a year for years two and three of a three-year GPS service contract.

Borough business owner Tim Romig reminded the mayor that these are the same residents whose annual property taxes were just raised then raised again when the

Months ago, when the mayor introduced the GPS plan, he said that the entire plan would be paid for by donations and that it would cost the taxpayers nothing. What was not covered by donations, Hoffman said, would be covered by his own personal funds. Later, he said he misspoke. He has the donations to cover the first year, but needs council to commit taxpayers to the rest.

“How many thousands of dollars are you asking taxpayers to pay…for your spy toy,” Romig asked.

In the meantime, that is in the process of being installed in police cars throughout the county. The mayor’s and the county’s systems are similar: both will indicate the real-time position of police vehicles. Both will record data on car locations and the length of time a car spends in a location.

The only difference is that the county system is monitored by county personnel and by the officers in the cars.

Hoffman wants to be able to monitor Macungie police officers from his home computer.

“It’s a managerial tool,” Hoffman said several times, adding that he did not want to be involved with the governmental lag time and red tape that would accompany asking the county to provide the information.

“Laurie Bailey, Lehigh County 911 director, told me to buy a commercial system,” Hoffman told council.

Two more borough residents approached the podium to ask the mayor why his system was warranted.

Pat Stasko started off calmly, but when the mayor kept repeating that the GPS is a “managerial tool,” the discussion began to heat up.

“Don’t you get it,” Stasko said, “Nobody trusts you.”

Marvin Moyer was even more blunt.

Getting no satisfaction when he asked the mayor why he really wanted the new system, Moyer added, “You want to know where the cruiser cars are so the can send the drunks home.”

One by one council members began asking questions about the mayor’s motives, the comparisons between his selected systems and the cost to taxpayers.

Eventually, the mayor said he would get Bailey’s comments in writing, and the topic was tabled for the evening.

David April 03, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Lets see. The police hold block parties, flashlight walks, conduct station tours, k9 demonstrations, crime watch meetings, etc etc etc and the mayor and other elected officials are not there. I don't sit and look out my window 24/7 so I would never make a comment that the police don't drive down my street. I would have no idea unless I am watching every minute. Do you? I don't think so. Do you have friends that you talk to regularly? I guess the police aren't allowed to have friends. And God forbid they should be talking to someone of the opposite sex. Something sinister must be going on. Tell me something, would you be making these comments if he was talking to a male? Probably not. Would you even notice? Probably not. You complain that the police used to wave and talk and now they don't. But you complain that the chief does talk to someone. The police simply can't win. If you didn't see the police at all at 5 AM you would complain that they are not around. Since you do see them at 5 AM you complain about where you see them. If you can see them then I guess they certainly aren't trying to hide are they? Sounds like there is an ulterior motive to your comments. I could always be wrong.......but I doubt it.
unknown April 03, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I've seen a lot of people flying through in Macungie and barely any cops around.... I see more state troopers then I do Macungie
unknown April 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I don't live in Macungie but at the same time I don't feel tax payers should have to pay for police to be baby sat by monitors
get real April 04, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Standing up to the police? Please tell us facts in reference to what the police have done that needs "standing up to." It sounds like you suffer from the same affliction as the mayor, you say alot, but youv'e really said nothing. Please tell us facts not your "click" BS rumors and innuendo.
Robert Sentner April 04, 2012 at 01:28 AM
how many more years do the poor Macungie Tax payers and council members have to deal with this Mayor, has done NOTHING but cost the tax payers $$$$$'s. He is the last person I would want monitoring the police dept. Can't wait till Macungie can elect a new Mayor and return to the once great little town it was before he arrived. So many positive things he could be helping with, really ashame.
Macungie Resident April 04, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I have never heard of any police block parties, I receive emails from the neighborhood watch and don't remember seeing any flashlight walks and I have heard of only 1 K9 demo at the farmers market. How often is the Sammy used? But thats a whole different topic. And no I don't sit at my window 24/7 but I am outside in my yard or on my deck alot and never see any police patrolling my neighborhood except in the morning when the Chief is chatting with a certain someone or 3-4 times a week at 1230 for his lunch time chat or even sometimes in the afternoon before the bus comes to drop off the kids but its only to chat with a certain someone. My neighborhood is only 2 dead end streets but he only goes down her street, if he would patrol the other street it wouldn't look so obvious. And yes I am sure if it was a male I wouldn't notice so much but when many of my neighbors have made comments even some of the kids something is just wrong. I am not saying they can't have friends but when he comes into my neighborhood only to chat with the same female numerous times a day again something is wrong. And like I said if she isn't around he doesn't come around. She was out of town for a few weeks and didn't see him once morning, lunch or afternoon. Why? As far as seeing them at 5am, I look purposely to see if they are in their "hiding" spots on my way to work and see them sitting in these strange places. I could see if he was closer to the road so he could pull over speeders but he isnt!
Macungie Resident April 04, 2012 at 01:49 AM
If the cops are so innocent why are they worried about getting GPS's in their cars? What are they trying to hide? The mayor is making sure we have proper coverage without wasting money. Just like any boss, he is making sure he is getting everything he can out of his employees. And with the issue the cops have with the changes the mayor recommended about changing .. Why is their overtime, especially during the winter? They only want to work when they can fit it in their personal time. With my job, I have to work some weekends and late nights and miss things with my family but they understand it comes with the job. These cops should be lucky to have a job with so many cities cutting police forces. If they would just do the job they were hired for and are getting paid for we wouldn't have these problems.
get real April 04, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Macungie Resident, maybe you should get involved with crime watch since you appear to be acutely aware of what goes on in your neighborhood. Or maybe you should donate your time to work for the mayor and continue your surveilance of the police in your neighborhood. Then the mayor could drop his request for his GPS since he would have you! But the best advice for you is to stop drinking the water, but based on your comments it sounds like its already too late.
Macungie Resident April 04, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I am a member of the crime watch! And yeah we don't need the GPS cause at 830, 1230 and 345 the Chief is in my neighborhood 3-4 times a week if not more so if anyone ever needs to find him just look here except weekends cause he doesn't come to visit on weekends. Otherwise my neighborhood is forgotten about or I should say one of the 2 streets are forgotten about because they never go down the other street!
get real April 04, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I don't believe the police have anything to hide, but did you ever consider who else may be sitting with the mayor at his home computer monitoring the movements of the police, and for what purpose? The county GPS already installed in the police vehicles does everything the mayor would need for any realistic reviews of the police officers actions. This GPS system cost the taxpayers nothing. But there is one problem with the county GPS system for the mayor, he would not have personal and private monitoring access from his home, he would need to request the information he desires from the county. That would not benefit his agenda!
Macungie Resident April 04, 2012 at 02:41 AM
If the cops have nothing to hide why are they fighting this so much? The mayor is just trying to make sure his employees are doing their job properly, just like any good boss would do.
Macungie Resident April 04, 2012 at 02:44 AM
The only difference is that the county system is monitored by county personnel and by the officers in the cars. What is the point of the officers in the cars being able to monitor themselves?
ron April 04, 2012 at 05:41 AM
The imformation the mayor wants would be available threw the county system,he would just have to wait a while to recive it. The mayor said lehigh county 911 director laurie bailey told him to buy the commercial system but when bailey spoke with 69 news she said she did not tell the mayor to do so. So again the mayor is caught in a lie just like when he said he would pay for the system or that he was ready to just move on. the lies just keep piling up but not to worry macungie residents there is an easy way to tell when the mayor is lieing ( HIS LIPS MOVE). And as far as who the chief stops to talk to or to say hi to as long as he is in or near his car whats the big deal. If you have knowledge of wrong doing or illegal activity make a complaint, but it is very reckless to insinuate that something more is going on and to spread innuendoes. If people in your neighborhood find this sinister mayby you should have the water in your neighborhood checked or get your own friends then you would have someone to talk to. Oh if you are implying that there is something sinister going on then i plead guilty to being sinister also as i myself sometimes stop to talk to people during the day. Oh by the way police in towns all over america stop in parking lots to do computer or paper work or yes to just take a break they are still only seconds or minutes away from any call in town and the fact that you and i and anyone else could easily see them tells me they are not in a hiding place !!!!
David April 04, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Yeah, the cops are fighting this so much that they were one of the first departments to have the county system installed so the dispatchers and other officers could see where they are at all times. It's a shame you have no idea what you are talking about. But that's ok, keep making innuendos and accusations if it makes you feel better.
John Rogers April 04, 2012 at 11:07 AM
As an outside observer reading these posts I can't help but come to one conclusion. I don't think that macungie resident is upset that the police don't pay enough attention to him. It seems he is upset because his neighbor doesn't pay enough attention to him. How sad.
LoMac Res April 04, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Dear Macungie: Elect a clown, you get a clown show. Hopefully you'll do better next time.
Robert Sentner April 04, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Macungie resident, The mayor should stick to practicing his parade wave for the halloween parade. still waiting to hear what he has done for the boro, that has improved it or saved money, just one little thing ???
Kelly April 04, 2012 at 12:23 PM
The problem is also the mayor has no police training.....NONE. He also hasn't even spoken to the chief about this system...not once!!! What a good boss he is. You don't see the officers at events because the borough can't keep officers. Why is the mayor not spending as much time on other issues important in our borough? His 5 minutes has been up for a long time.......move on Mr. Hoffman!!!! Macungie Resident.....did you go to the academy and have a degree in criminal justice? There is probably an opening in the department for a part time officer right now. Just remember...no benefits and your boss has no experience!
Glad I Dont live in Macungie April 10, 2012 at 06:38 PM
The cops aren't fighting it, the cops already have GPS units in their cars that were not paid for by your Macungie Taxes(however im sure your county taxes paid for them). Why waste money on a systems that is already in place.
Glad I Dont live in Macungie April 10, 2012 at 06:40 PM
They arent monitoring themselves, they can see the other officers in the county so if someone yells for help they can look on the screen and see where that officer is.
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Macungie Resident......your comments are absolutely SICK!!! You do need help for yourself!
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Another Voice....I am in total agreement with you!! Macungie Resident should be careful what accusations he/she makes online....the comments are indeed sinister and the sign of a quite SICK individual!!
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Once again Macungie Resident....you better be VERY CAREFUL about these accusations! Your statements lack credibility, honesty, sanity or REALITY!!!!! You MUST be related to the "mayor"!
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:30 AM
He might just have a similar sinister agenda as Macungie Resident....they will probably monitor the police together from the "mayor's" home PC. You are so right...bless the police chief and his department for remaining to serve these sick, sinister minority!
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:33 AM
GREAT POINT!!!!!!!!
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Kelly...great post!!
Macungie Resident April 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Funny how ever since this article the Chief hasn't been in my neighborhood! If he wasn't doing anything wrong why has he stopped coming to visit his friend!
David April 20, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Are you really going to stoop so low as to make things up now? I have a feeling that the chief has been in your neighborhood just as much as before, if not more. Maybe you need to get out of your house and PARK on the SIDE of the road and watch more carefully. :-)
Responsible Citizen April 20, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Macungie resident you are one SICK indvidual!! If not sick then an extremely vindictive story teller!!! Shame on you that you need to stoop to such low standards!!
Ron Beitler April 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM
This whole system costs something like 2500 dollars I think. (don't quote me... sry if I don't remember... but it's close to that) If people support this, the Mayor should easily be able to convince 30 people to give around 75 dollars. I think the public really doesn't support this. The patch survey supports my hunch. Something like 90% voiced displeasure with the Mayor pursuing this. The patch survey is NOT scientific, but I wouldn't bet against the majority being against out in the community. My point is, the mayors fundraising efforts produced a cpl hundred dollars. This means the effort did not have widespread public support. 2500 dollars isn't simple to raise, but it's not impossible. Esp if an issue has widespread support. This seems to not. Again as I said many times, I support the Mayor having oversight of the department. This was backed (correctly) by the courts. I just wish he would exercise that oversight in a different more constructive way. I do not see or hear of people 'fearing Macungie cops' in the community. Never once. People pissed they get tickets on Main. But ticketing main is a GOOD thing. Its NOT a dragstrip.

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