Salisbury Press

Sunday, September 22, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINLehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney V. Paul Bernardino, III, right, leads a contingent of county municipal police officers in a presentation to the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners about the Lehigh County Reconstruction Task Force. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINLehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney V. Paul Bernardino, III, right, leads a contingent of county municipal police officers in a presentation to the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners about the Lehigh County Reconstruction Task Force.

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT

Thursday, August 1, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

Township police to join forces with county for vehicle crashes investigations

The Salisbury Township Police Department has its share of vehicle crashes to investigate, especially in the portion of Interstate 78 that traverses Summit Lawn on South Mountain and where the busy interstate crosses Lehigh Street and Cedar Crest Boulevard in the township.

Crashes also occur in the casino corridor, which includes East Susquehanna Street, Emmaus Avenue and Seidersville Road.

With an agreement approved by a 4-0 vote, with one commissioner absent at the July 11 meeting, the Salisbury police force will be able to utilize a new resource for crash investigations.

Township Commissioner Rodney Conn made the motion, seconded by Commissioner Joanne Ackerman, to bring the matter to a vote.

The resource approved by the commissioners’ vote is being implemented through a memorandum of understanding between the township and the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office to participate in the Lehigh County Crash Reconstruction Task Force.

The task force provides the sharing of personnel and equipment between Lehigh County municipal police departments for vehicle crash investigations.

Representatives of the task force made a presentation at the June 13 township commissioners’ meeting workshop.

Township officials discussed the matter before it being placed on the July 11 meeting agenda.

Task force representatives attending the June 13 workshop included Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney V. Paul Bernardino III and Upper Macungie Township Police Department Sgt. Cory S. Reader. Also attending was Salisbury Township Police Department Cpl. Charles Whitehead.

At the June 13 workshop, Salisbury Township Chief of Police Allen W. Stiles, who retired July 12, gave commissioners background information concerning vehicle crash reconstructions in the township: “Some of our officers are there. However, not all of our officers are available.”

Stiles said the township police department “works with state police and our own equipment.

“The district attorney [Lehigh County District Attorney James B. Martin] has spoken with us about having a task force so we don’t have to wait for the state police.

“I think it’s a good idea. When you have a small force, it’s a drain on our township.

“We do have our own equipment and we have highly-qualified officers,” Stiles emphasized.

Stiles said overtime costs for the township may be incurred by participation in the task force. “I can’t tell you how much,” Stiles said.

“Every time we handle a crash, we spend overtime,” Stiles pointed out.

Six county municipalities, in addition to Salisbury, participate in the task force.

During the workshop, it was said Lehigh County has the highest number of fatal crashes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Said Ackerman during the workshop discussion, “I think, in the long run, it saves money because you’re having experienced personnel doing this.”

“Sometimes it takes state police three hours to show up and sometimes they don’t gather all the information that the DA needs. The state police are drawn so thin,” Stiles said.

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners is next scheduled to meet 7 p.m. Aug. 8 in the township municipal building, 2900 S. Pike Ave.

The July 25 township commissioners’ meeting was canceled.

The Aug. 6 Salisbury Township Zoning Hearing Board meeting has also been canceled.