Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Coplay to go with regional police recruitment effort

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Consortium to handle testing; borough interested in only on-duty officers

Coplay Police Chief Vincent Genovese presented details on the regional plan for hiring police officers during borough council’s workshop meeting Feb. 5.

Essentially, participating municipalities would have a call for officers on a regular basis. The consortium would do qualifying testing. Each municipality would have a custom list of requirements and conduct additional testing and background checks.

Municipalities can have unique lists of qualifications. For example, Coplay wants to only look at officers who are presently on duty in other municipalities.

“We don’t have the money to conduct a full five-month [on-the-job] training program plus the police academy,” Genovese said. “We set the requirement for police officers with the necessary training.”

The first go-round with the new system is scheduled for spring. The physical tests will be conducted at DeSales University, Center Valley. Genovese says the group is expecting 250 candidates.

Once approved by the consortium, qualified candidates can opt for consideration at any of the participating municipalities. Local civil service boards will present the final list to council for consideration.

One restriction for candidates is that, if selected, they need to stay on the force for at least two years. If they decide to look at another opportunity, they need to take the tests again.

In related news, Genovese reported police training will begin for the Lifesaver program. The program is designed to support dementia patients living in the borough. Coplay received a grant for the program and will include the Borough of Catasauqua in the mix.

Rick Kern took the podium to address Coplay Sports’ plan for improvements at the baseball stadium. There are plenty of cleanup/maintenance items needed, but Kern wants to improve the dugouts as well.

“They would be at field level, not below ground,” he said.

The effort is part of Coplay Sports’ continuous improvement schedule for its athletic fields.

Borough public works Director Paul Boyle gave his annual report with some interesting statistics. A measure of the effort is the amount of trash picked up.

“The crews picked up 630 tons of trash per man, 280 tons of recyclables and 400 cubic yards of yard waste,” he said.

On a weekly basis, each employee is handling more than 10 tons of trash and a little over five tons of recyclables. That load is increased during the season with yard waste collections.

Egypt Star Bakery is requesting an additional parking space for reserved customers. No one on council opposed the request.

Council will vote on extending its cell tower lease at its Feb. 12 meeting. The tower sits atop borough hall. The existing lease ends in 2029, but the borough could gain urgently needed funds by extending now. The leasing company offered $32,000 now and would continue the monthly payments with an annual increase of 3 percent annually. The new ending date is 2039.

Coplay is looking at hiring a grant writer. According to Councilman Stephen Burker, the borough is missing out on grants. He feels that hiring a grant writer would not only improve the applications, but could also find alternative grants.

Council is actively seeking to move the public works department to borough property on Bridge Street. Council is seeking grant funds to help the process along. The original goal is to have all municipal functions and a new police department at Bridge Street. ohibitive.