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Update on Our Poll: Should Macungie Put its Own GPS Systems in Police Cars?

Vote before 8 a.m. Monday.

Editor's note: Our poll will be available for reader votes through the weekend and will close at 8 a.m. Monday.

At last week's borough council meeting, Macungie Mayor Rick Hoffman again tried to move council to vote to place a GPS system in borough police cars that can be monitored by him from his home.

And though he has not consulted with Police Chief Edward Harry Jr. about any of the characteristics of the system or even that he wants to put the units in the cars, Hoffman says Harry will also be able to monitor the system from police headquarters.

Lehigh County recently put GPS systems in police cars throughout the county. They were installed in the Macungie cars about a month ago.

The county systems can do all the things the mayor's preferred system can do, however, they can only be monitored by county personnel. They cannot be monitored by Hoffman at his home.

The borough struggled with its 2012 budget, faced potential cuts in personnel and services and ultimately reopened the budged in January and raised taxes more than originally expected.

The GPS systems will cost at least $2,000 for the second and third years of operation.

Though the mayor, as per the state's Borough Code, is in charge of the police department, should borough council vote to install the mayor's GPS systems in borough police cars?

John Rogers April 10, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Ridiculous. The boro just raised taxes while cutting police services in the name of finances. Now he wants them to spend tax money to fund a system that does nothing more than allow him to "spy" on the officers. The GPS from the county does everything necessary. We all know what his motives are. I would love to hear just one positive thing he has done for the police department since taking office. Just ONE. What's next? Ask council to fund building a 20 story watchtower in the center of the boro that he could climb up in and watch what the officers are doing? If he wants to know where they are, call the officer on duty on his cell phone and ask him. Better yet, get in his car and go look for them. The boro isn't that big and they aren't hard to find. Everytime I drive around I see them. He can too.
ron April 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
A total waste of taxpayer money! why would you want to pay extra for something you already have. No mayor should have access to such a system in their home, its hard to imagine someone would be crazy enough to even ask for it yet our council is actually considering it. Macungie is a great place to live and has so much potential but unfortunately a few of our council members have tunnel vision, one agenda, their only reason for being on council is to attack the police department so everything else gets lost in the shuffle. oh if the mayor wants imformation from the county system i believe all he has to do is ask !
Gus April 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I do believe this will save the borough money in the long run. It's police will be more inclined to keep their activities inside the borough limits. I have seen Macungie Police vehicles in East Texas and Wescosville on non police business. If the police chief has no concern to keep his units where they belong then somebody has to watch over them.
John Rogers April 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Please explain how you know that Macungie Police cars, if in fact they were from Macungie, were on non police business. If Macungie PD cars were going to Lehigh Valley Hospital or to the county courthouse on police business, wouldn't they have to go through those communities to get there????? Or do they have signs on the top like taxi cabs that light up and say "out of service"? In addition, the county system can be accessed to obtain that information. Once again, people make assumptions that they can not support.
Dave April 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I am so tired of our childish "mayor" and his school yard spat with the police. Everytime he opens his mouth, everytime he gets into the paper, his "it's not personal" excuse gets thinner and thinner. He must think the people in Macungie are not too bright. That we cannot see that this is 100 percent personal and 1000 percent childish! I would love to see the "mayor" spend the same amount of energy and time on vitalizing Main Street, working on lowering taxes, working on balancing the budget that he, in part, blew apart, when the town had to pay additional legal fees to protect itself from it's own "mayor". He wants to oversee investigations and do the scheduling, so where did he go to college? Where did he get his business management training or human resources training? Where did he get his training in police work, or psychology or sociology? What if anything qualifies him to run the police department or even our little town? Mr. "mayor" stop embarrassing our little town with your cry-baby antics, resign and let someone who cares about Macungie, not their own pettiness and bitterness, run our town.
Gus April 11, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Mr. Rogers, Thank you for your qualified assumption about my intelligence. However the periodic visits to the neighbor across the street has nothing to do with the court house, hospital, or police business in general. It is not the county's job to baby sit the local police.
John Rogers April 11, 2012 at 06:24 PM
First of all, I said nothing about your intelligence. Secondly, are you trying to say that a Macungie PD car is visiting a neighbor of yours in Wescosville or East Texas while on duty?? If that is the case, then have you called the chief to let him know?
Robert Sentner April 11, 2012 at 09:10 PM
So true Dave....excellent points.
Gus April 11, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Mr. Rodger, It is not my responsibility and I would not want to jeopardize someone's job. I just feel if they knew their actions were being monitored there would be less waste of department resources. Do you disagree that the notion of being supervised would reduce waste of resources.
John Rogers April 11, 2012 at 11:38 PM
You supervise when its necessary. You don't supervise just to supervise. That's called micromanaging. Macungie is noted for it. Look at the poll results and that tells you how much supervision the public feels Macungie PD needs. If you are not willing to come forward and put your name to a complaint it normally means you don't have a legitimate one.
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I am in full agreement with John Rogers. People who hurl unsubstantiated and empty accusations behind a computer screen, however, refuse to put their name to a formal complaint is either a coward or simply spewing inflammatory rhetoric!!
Carl W April 12, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Main Street, Macungie, would get my business if police weren't sitting there waiting to ticket everyone they can. It's the ONLY reason a lot of us avoid Macungie.
Carl W April 12, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Truthfully, they really do seem to get around. However, seeing them in Allentown, I always think they're on 'courthouse' business, or are they???
Carl W April 12, 2012 at 05:29 AM
I dunno.' Maybe you should just level Macungie, and start over !!! :-)
Kelly April 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Dave, I agree with your statements and we have this mayor for a few more years and the damage he is doing will affect this borough for many years after he is gone. He has made working for the borough a very unwelcome job. We lose whatever officers we get as soon as they get offers from other municipalities. Our officers are also used in neighboring towns and vice versa, its called backup. There is also court time, lots of it, investigations, oh and lets not forget coffee and donuts........isn't that all cops do?? Some how our wonderful mayor will read these posts and find a way to spin them to say he is doing a wonderful job~the clock is ticking, will we have any businesses left when his time has run out!
Robert Sentner April 12, 2012 at 01:06 PM
lets hope all of the council also see's the handwriting on the wall, and realizes that the MAJORITY of people in Macungie are sick and tired of his vendetta attitude and stop supporting or even listening to this moronic Mayor. Lets also hope that someone with even a little bit of common sense runs for mayor next time. are we on the down hill side of his term yet ???
John Rogers April 12, 2012 at 01:27 PM
My 2 cents hit on the operative phrase "anyone with common sense". Unfortunately Macungie has never been blessed with a plethora of elected officials that possess common sense . The track record of many of council members has been to vote utilizing the personal agenda/vendetta method of reasoning. People need to start attending meetings and making their opinions known in that forum. Posting on these forums is nice but it means nothing. Residents MUST start getting involved.
Ron Beitler April 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Yes John, Residents MUST MUST MUST start getting involved. I've sat at council meetings before with 6 people in the gallery. I am one of maybe 3 business owners who go to council meetings regularly, one does because he sits on the planning commission. The revitalization committee of 2009-2010 I believe was pretty much disbanded because business owners didn't get involved and the council wasn't on the same page as the committee. It's sad really....(If I'm wrong someone please correct me) I'm hoping they re-activate this committee. If they do I will personally walk Main St. trying to get business owners to buy in and show up to meetings. They also MUST have council buy-in to main street revitalization. Nothing worse then forming a committee that does all kinds of leg work with volunteers giving up their time only for council to not have the buy-in. There is no bigger issue for this borough then maximizing it's most valuable asset. It's Main Street. Everything else is just distractions.
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 10:48 PM
These are all wonderful comments, however, let us not forget the most important fact in Macungie. The constant resistance to progress in this borough has always been and STILL is.....the insatiable desire for the control of real estate-and property by the minority of citizens spanning several generations in positions of "power". These individuals have infiltrated and monopolize positions in borough government. As a result, ANY form of "progress" which slices into the profits of these powerful few will be immediately dismissed! The more progressive or intelligent the ideas or individuals supporting such ideas the more resistant and obstructive the borough government becomes especially when such ideas seem to threaten real estate acquisition, profits and power! Simply attend several council meetings and this all becomes crystal clear. Macungie requires a clean sweep of council and borough management for any progress to develope. It is also obvious to see why the current police chief and MPD are under fire as well. The intelligence, professionalism, and vision of the police chief is counter to this borough's ongoing culture of stagnation and narrow thinking. Look at the history...Macungie had been unable to retain chiefs for any length of time. Yes....citizens need to get involved in order to evoke ANY worthy change!!
Responsible Citizen April 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM
These are all wonderful comments, however, let us not forget the most important fact in Macungie. The constant resistance to progress in this borough has always been and STILL is.....the insatiable desire for the control of real estate-and property by the minority of citizens spanning several generations in positions of "power". These individuals have infiltrated and monopolize positions in borough government. As a result, ANY form of "progress" which slices into the profits of these powerful few will be immediately dismissed! The more progressive or intelligent the ideas or individuals supporting such ideas the more resistant and obstructive the borough government becomes especially when such ideas seem to threaten real estate acquisition, profits and power! Simply attend several council meetings and this all becomes crystal clear. Macungie requires a clean sweep of council and borough management for any progress to develope. It is also obvious to see why the current police chief and MPD are under fire as well. The intelligence, professionalism, and vision of the police chief is counter to this borough's ongoing culture of stagnation and narrow thinking. Look at the history...Macungie had been unable to retain chiefs for any length of time. Yes....citizens need to get involved in order to evoke ANY worthy change!!
Ron Beitler April 13, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Carl W.The speed limit is 35 MPH. Main street is not a throughway, it should be thought of as a mixed use corridor. It's a neighborhood. Cops are doing their job by enforcing the speed limit. NOW, do I think ticketing is effective way to lower speeds... NO NO and NO. The ONLY way to lower speeds on Main St. consistently is calming devices such as islands, bump outs, more crosswalks like in front of Sals, Street Tree's ect. Basically, the concept is making main street look more like the mixed use neighborhood center it is and less like a drag strip. Perception is everything with drivers and speeding. If the road looks like a racetrack people WILL speed no matter how often you ticket.
Ron Beitler April 13, 2012 at 06:12 PM
The Mayor, current council... possible future mayor/council candidates somebody/anybody needs to step up and carry the banner for revitalization on Main St. I wish I could live in Macungie AND Lower Mac at the same time! They are intertwined. Main St. Macungie IS the main street of Lower Macungie Township. I've ALWAYS thought of it as my main st. community even though I grew up in the township. I'm so tired of reading about the mayor and the police.... As I said I get it. The mayor was within his right to flex his muscle regarding mayor over site of police dept... I can't say anything about motives b/c I don't know the guy. But now it's done. Lets move on. The GPS issue is redundant considering the county provides this service. Further needing to monitor from his personal computer at his house is sorta ridiculous in my opinion. What happens when a new mayor gets elected? How does monitoring transfer? As a main st business owner please please lets begin to tackle the real issues screaming for attention here in the borough.
ron April 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Ron i think an empty gallery is what the mayor and some council members want, they dont like to be questioned. As a matter of fact at the first meeting this year one of the very first things they talked about was to shorten the time the public had to speak. As is, its only 5 min per person so to them even 6 people is way to many. then they talked about opening the budget to raise taxes i dont think they talked about main st. I think all crosswalks between the train tracks and buckeye should be like the one at sals!
Ron Beitler April 14, 2012 at 02:06 AM
5 minutes is great compared to LMT's ridiculous 3 minute limit
Robert Sentner April 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Upper Milford Township has NO limit and you can comment whenever you would like through out the night, we actually like when people make recommendations and help in the decision process, Its all about transparency. I wish more people would participate in both Planning, and supervisor meetings. It is SOOOO important to know what is going on in your municipality, boro or town. Traffic calming is hard to do when you have a grade like you have on the South end of town, but the Police presence helps for sure
Robert Sentner April 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Oh and 93% I think the people have spoken.
Responsible Citizen April 14, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Unfortunately, you are both dreaming. This mayor and council do not espouse any change in Macungie. You are totally correct, ron, this council abhors being questioned by anyone except the few minority that support their views and agenda! Clean sweep is required!!
Ron Beitler April 14, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Wow no time limit. Thats great Robert. In LMT the manager sits with a stop watch that starts when you begin and stops at 3 minutes. The 3 minutes also includes commissioners commenting on your statement/question/concern. So it's really 3 minutes on your topic. Now they CAN vote to extend your time but obviously if it's something they don't want to hear..... I also hate the stepping up to a podium and speaking into a mic.I I know why they do it... for the webcast and transcribing purposes. I get that..but they wonder why more people don't participate. It's extremely intimidating the whole process. Time limit with a stopwatch, podium with a mic... speaking to commissioners up on a Dais. I know two people who attend meetings on a regular basis but will not speak because the whole process is so intimidating.
Robert Sentner April 14, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Ron you should come to one of our meetings sometime, totally casual, no stepping up to the podium, no time limits, speak from your seat. Yes sometimes it is something that the Supervisors don't want to hear or agree with, but no one is ever made to feel insignificant or turned away. The elected officials need to remember that they are serving the PEOPLE !!!!!! and that the people elected them into office and can elect them out of office. Really wish more people would get involved in local government, because when it does work it works excellent. I am very proud at the direction Upper Milford has gone, and this has been going on long before I became a supervisor, some good staff and people in our little township. Thats what is so frustrating with Macungie, I know some of the people on council and some of the staff. Some very very good people, with very good intentions. Unlike the Mayor that strictly has an agenda. I don't understand why he doesn't come on the patch and explain his reasoning for all of the wasted tax payer $$$$'s
Mrs. B May 23, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Props to the ones that stick around waiting for this "drama" to end....

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