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Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting

Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Based on response, additional meetings may be scheduled in the future.

 

Submit your comments/questions via my Newtown Police Town Hall Questionnaire in case you are unable attend for personal reasons (e.g., conflict) or if you were not able to attend due to seating limits. Include any questions or comments you wish for me to submit to the Chief. You also can submit questions/comments/concerns directly to the Chief via email to: PoliceTownHall@newtownpa.gov

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Public Health & Safety
These scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. They focus on public health issues such as opioid addiction, water and air quality, environmental issues, emergency services, traffic, crime, etc.
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Battling Drug Addiction? Now You Can Get Help from Some Bucks County Police Departments. Just Walk In & Ask!

Battling Drug Addiction? Now You Can Get Help from Some Bucks County Police Departments. Just Walk In & Ask! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A police department may seem like an unlikely destination for someone battling a drug addiction.

 

But in Bucks County, a dozen area police stations are opening their doors, making it clear that they want to help people get treatment — not arrest them.

 

Unveiled Wednesday, the expanded Bucks County Police Assisting in Recovery program will equip a dozen participating agencies with the resources and county support needed to help those showing up at police stations find care while also providing free transportation to treatment facilities.

 

“We can get someone help within a couple of hours,” said Bensalem’s Director of Public Safety Fred Harran, who launched the first program in 2016 and has helped 70 to 80 people get into treatment since then. He said police will serve as “ambassadors” to the public, connecting those in need “to the experts...no questions asked.”

 

Bucks County’s Board of Commissioners, local law enforcers and officials with the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission gathered at the county’s Justice Center in Doylestown Borough Wednesday to announce the launch of the expanded collaboration between law enforcement and recovery advocates. Diane Rosati, executive director of the commission, said a $300,000 state grant will help pay for police training, media materials, assessment and some treatment costs for the police-assisted diversion program.

 

“We want to get folks access to services when they are ready — without a wait. That is the goal of the project,” she said.

 

Police departments connecting residents struggling with addiction with treatment include:

Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission: 215-444-2700 or https://www.bcdac.org/

 

If you or someone you know is seeking help, call one of these 24/7 BPAIR Helplines located in your community:

 

  • Bensalem Police Department: 215-633-3727
  • Falls Township Police Department: 215-949-9100
  • Lower Southampton Township Police Department: 215-357-1234
  • Northampton Township Police Department: 215-322-6111
  • Perkasie Borough Police Department: 215-257-6876
  • Plumstead Township Police Department: 215-766-8741
  • Quakertown Borough Police Department: 215-536-5002
  • Richland Township Police Department: 215-536-9500
  • Upper Southampton Township Police Department: 215-364-5000
  • Warminster Police Department: 215-672-1000
  • Warrington Township Police Department: 215-343-3311
  • Warwick Township Police Department: 215-343-6102

 

 District Attorney Matt Weintraub said the program is meant to increase the community’s access to treatment and marks the beginning of a movement that he hopes eventually will include all of the county’s 39 departments within a year.

 

Once people come in, officers can connect them with a navigator from the county’s Drug and Alcohol Commission, transport them to a care center where a professional can assess their needs and work to find them placement in a recovery program.

 

“What we have to work on now is building that trust so that someone suffering from opioid addiction can feel comfortable coming to the police department, coming to a police officer knowing you won’t be arrested if you ask us for help,” said Harran.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

  • “The Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission Awarded $650K Grant for Warm Hand-Off Program for Opioid Overdose Survivors”; http://sco.lt/8JkqXI
  • “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7ZZCOf
  • “Pharmaceutical Opioid Settlement Cash Should Be Used to Create Treatment Programs for Addiction Victims, Says Newtown, OH, Police Chief”; http://sco.lt/78MN16
  • “Volunteer 'navigators' needed for Bensalem recovery assistance program”; http://sco.lt/5hYF9c
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Middletown Township, in partnership with TMA Bucks, has opened two new electric vehicle charging stations

Middletown Township, in partnership with TMA Bucks, has opened two new electric vehicle charging stations | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

One station is located in the parking lot outside the Middletown Township Municipal Center, and the second is outside of the main entrance of the Department of Public Works building. Both stations are currently open for public use at the rate of 18 cents/kWh. The locations feature ChargePoint stations.

 

TMA Bucks said the township does not profit from the charging stations.

 

The charging station were funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Driving PA Forward program. The program was developed by Gov. Wolf’s administration to help Pennsylvania meet its diesel emissions reduction goals.

 

“Middletown Township is extremely proud to join the growing network of charging stations for electric vehicle drivers and support clean energy solutions to protect our environment,” said Stephanie Teoli Kuhls, township manager, in a press release.

 

TMA Bucks is a nonprofit transportation management association that promotes and coordinates travel demand management strategies to reduce traffic congestion. The nonprofit serves as a clearinghouse for transportation policies and programs throughout Bucks County. TMA Bucks assisted Middletown in securing the grant money for this project.

 

[TMA Bucks Executive Director Steve Noll said] TMA Bucks is available to answer any questions from municipalities or organizations regarding the Driving PA Forward program. The funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

“Reducing emissions is an important tool for improving the air we breathe,” Noll said. “We were extremely happy to work together with Middletown Township on this project that will help contribute to cleaner air and lower emissions in the area.”

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Elcon Finally Withdraws Application for Large Hazardous Wastewater Plant in Falls Township

Elcon Finally Withdraws Application for Large Hazardous Wastewater Plant in Falls Township | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Israel-based Elcon Recycling Services has withdrawn its application to build a large facility in Falls Township that would have processed up to 210,000 tons of liquid chemical waste annually for recycling, according to a notice the company filed Thursday.

“The current business climate, including the impacts of COVID-19, has forced Elcon to reevaluate its plans for expanding its hazardous waste treatment business into the United States,” Zvi Elgat, the company’s CEO, said in a withdrawal letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Elcon’s plan to build a U.S. plant had been met with years of stiff resistance from officials and residents in the Bucks County township (see "Related Content").

“The withdrawal of Elcon’s applications for a proposed project in Falls Township is a win for both local residents and the environment,” State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks) said in the statement. “I have been opposed to Elcon’s proposal from the beginning. ... Today’s announcement is a victory in a hard-fought battle, led by concerned residents, to protect the health and safety of our entire community.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

  • “Victory! Falls Supervisors Reject Elcon Plan”; http://sco.lt/5QNYOG
  • “John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit”; http://sco.lt/8qcY8e
  • “Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River”; http://sco.lt/7p4zLd
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Report Says PA Fails to Protect Residents from Fracking, But Major Reform is Unlikely

Report Says PA Fails to Protect Residents from Fracking, But Major Reform is Unlikely | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The recent findings of a massive grand jury investigation into the state’s failure to protect communities from unconventional oil and gas development, known as fracking, were damning, and lent official credence to problems many residents have decried for years.

 

The long-anticipated report outlined explicit ways in which the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health turned a blind eye to the snowballing effects of fracking on Pennsylvania’s residents and skirted constitutional obligations to protect the environment.

 

State officials testified about directives to ignore health concerns and practices that glossed over the harm the public experienced, effectively gaslighting residents whose tap water appeared brown or experienced rashes when they showered, but were told nothing was wrong.

 

The testimony also revealed how officials deferred to the industry and poorly tracked complaints, and how state workers failed to properly test potentially tainted air and water.

 

Several of the report’s recommendations address problems previously raised by advocates in legal cases and unsuccessful pushes for new legislation to better account for the health and environmental impacts of fracking. Some lawmakers said the proposals overreach and are an ineffective way to change policy.

 

State agencies, meanwhile, dismissed the report outright, calling the recommendations unnecessary and crafted by a group of people unqualified to understand environmental law. Many of the issues raised were outdated, they said, and already addressed.

 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the report is not the end of the investigation. Roughly a week prior to the report’s release, the grand jury issued indictments against the oil and gas companies Cabot Oil & Gas and Range Resources, alleging they committed environmental crimes, including polluting the local water supply with methane — in one case causing a well to explode — and negligent oversight of well sites, as well as knowingly covering up problems.

 

Still, many who have called for better industry oversight and regulation questioned the absence of any criminal charges against state officials and the lack of focus on Gov. Tom Wolf, who has overseen the agencies criticized by the grand jury report for five years. Others say the report’s ineffectualness is evident in the state’s current behavior. Even after the indictments, the Department of Environmental Protection issued permits to the companies charged.

 

John Smith, a Washington County attorney who has represented numerous landowners against gas companies, said the grand jury report at least provides “some documentation” that validates what people in his community have long known: Laws are inadequate and the state will not step in to protect residents against oil and gas development.

 

“There is not an appetite to enforce anything with any teeth,” he said.

 

Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks), minority chair of the Senate’s environmental committee, said he and other lawmakers intend to introduce bills to address the recommendations, but would not say what or when. A spokesperson for Wolf said the governor would support additional legislative efforts.

 

“We are not going to let this report sit out there without some action being taken,” Santarsiero said.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

At a March 28, 2018, public meeting, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved Resolution 2018-R-10, which calls upon the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to “enact a complete and permanent ban on natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing and all related activities (including drilling, fracking, wastewater processing and discharges from and water withdrawals for drilling and fracking operations) throughout the basin.” More on that and video comments before the Board by Sharon Furlong, spokesperson for the Bucks Environmental Action Group and for Bucks County Sierra Club, here.

 

Related Content:

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This Oregon Town of 170,000 Replaced Some Cops with Medics and Mental Health Workers. It's Worked for Over 30 Years.

This Oregon Town of 170,000 Replaced Some Cops with Medics and Mental Health Workers. It's Worked for Over 30 Years. | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Around 30 years ago, a town in Oregon retrofitted an old van, staffed it with young medics and mental health counselors and sent them out to respond to the kinds of 911 calls that wouldn't necessarily require police intervention.

In the town of 172,000, they were the first responders for mental health crises, homelessness, substance abuse, threats of suicide -- the problems for which there are no easy fixes. The problems that, in the hands of police, have often turned violent.


Today, the program, called CAHOOTS, has three vans, more than double the number of staffers and the attention of a country in crisis.


CAHOOTS is already doing what police reform advocates say is necessary to fundamentally change the US criminal justice system -- pass off some responsibilities to unarmed civilians.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

This was an idea discussed at the June 17, 2020, Zoom meeting of the Newtown Township Human Relations Commission (see here) and it may be a topic for discussion at the July 23, 2020, Police Town Hall Meeting (more about that here).

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PFAS Health Study Kicks Off With Online Zoom Meeting Hosted By Bucks County Dept of Health

PFAS Health Study Kicks Off With Online Zoom Meeting Hosted By Bucks County Dept of Health | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A national multisite study of PFAS health effects begins with an informational meeting online Thursday evening.

The 7 p.m. meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health will give a general overview of how researchers will test area residents to better understand the potential health impacts of the unregulated chemicals in drinking water.

The registration link to the Zoom meeting can be found on the BuxMont Coalition for Safer Water’s Facebook page.

Hope Grosse, one of the co-founders of the local water contamination awareness group, said Tuesday a recording of the meeting will be posted online for anyone who is unable to attend.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

 

  • “Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous”; http://sco.lt/8k1yzI
  • “Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7JCbGy
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
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Middletown To Pay $250 to Each Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Worker Who Serves the Township

Middletown To Pay $250 to Each Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Worker Who Serves the Township | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Active volunteers in 2019 will be getting $250 apiece and $100 credits toward township parks and recreation programming.

Dozens of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel who serve Middletown will soon be getting $250 apiece, courtesy of the township.

The supervisors approved a total of $35,750 in payments to volunteers active in 2019 at a recent virtual meeting.

Under the township’s Volunteer Firefighter Incentive program, the volunteers will also get $100 credits toward Middletown parks and recreation programming.

Included are volunteers from four fire companies: 18 at Parkland, 23 at Penndel, 32 at Langhorne-Middletown and 38 at William Penn. Thirty-two members of the Penndel-Middletown Rescue Squad also will be getting the payments and credits.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

I think this is a good idea.

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Here’s the CDC’s Guidance for Opening Up America That Was Shelved By The White House: “Coming Soon”???

Here’s the CDC’s Guidance for Opening Up America That Was Shelved By The White House: “Coming Soon”??? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[On Tuesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified before a U.S. Senate committee that the recommendations would be released “soon.”]

 

UPDATE (5/15/20): “CDC Publishes "Decision Trees" To Aid Pandemic Re-opening Decisions: Light on Actual Guidelines, More or Less Just Suggestions”: http://sco.lt/9ARzkG

 

Advice from the top U.S. disease control experts on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions during the coronavirus pandemic was more detailed and restrictive than the plan released by the White House last month.

 

The guidance, which was shelved by Trump administration officials, also offered recommendations to help communities decide when to shut facilities down again during future flareups of COVID-19.

 

The Associated Press obtained a 63-page document that is more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shows how the thinking of the CDC infection control experts differs from those in the White House managing the pandemic response.

 

The White House’s “Opening Up America Again” plan that was released April 17 included some of the CDC’s approach, but made clear that the onus for reopening decisions was solely on state governors and local officials.

 

The CDC’s detailed guidance was eventually shelved by the administration April 30, according to internal government emails and CDC sources who were granted anonymity because they were not cleared to speak to the press. After The AP reported about the burying of the guidance last week, the White House asked the CDC to revive parts of it, which were sent back for approval, according to emails and interviews.

 

 

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Access the 63-page CDC Guidance for Opening Up America Again Framework document. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6889330-Guidance-for-Opening-Up-America-Again-Framework.html

 

Meanwhile, Newtown Township is planning to open summer camps without specific guidance from the CDC. Are you comfortable with that? Take my survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLYN77J

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To Reopen Local Businesses, Townships Must Develop Guidelines to Ensure Citizens are Safe. CASE STUDY: Middletown & Sesame Place

To Reopen Local Businesses, Townships Must Develop Guidelines to Ensure Citizens are Safe. CASE STUDY: Middletown & Sesame Place | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Sesame Place’s] ongoing closure leaves a big void in Middletown’s finances…

 

The park is the lone source of amusement tax revenue for the township. Sesame Place pays 10% of its gross revenues every year in amusement tax, and the total is then split between Middletown and the Neshaminy School District.

 

The township’s share last year was $1.46 million.

 

“We are certainly feeling the financial impact of its closure,” Middletown supervisors Chairman Mike Ksiazek said. “It is one of the largest employers in the township and a big source of amusement tax and mercantile tax revenues.

 

“Sesame Place has always been an important pillar not only to the township economy but to our community as a whole. Sesame is a cultural icon. The season will not be the same without Sesame Place.”

 

Board Chairwoman Amy Strouse ... said the township is establishing an Economic Reopening Task Force. Sesame Place Park President Cathy Valeriano will take a leadership role in the group, which will also have representatives from the Oxford Valley Mall, St. Mary Medical Center and several other township businesses, Strouse said.

 

“The task force will be charged with developing guidelines to clarify what precautions businesses should have in place to be ready to reopen as quickly as is reasonable and safe, as soon as Bucks County reaches Gov. Wolf’s yellow, and ultimately green, criteria,” she added.

 

“This has been an incredibly challenging time for all of Bucks County, but we must persevere and work together to get us to the other side of this public health and economic crisis,” said Paul Bencivengo, president and COO of Visit Bucks County, a nonprofit that promotes tourism in the county.

 

“Visit Bucks County is in constant communication with all our hospitality partners, including Sesame Place, and we will be ready to market a safe Bucks County when the time is right.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

This is a good idea since the White House has "buried" CDC's guidelines for reopening. But you can find those guidelines here: https://bit.ly/3bbGb1r

 

Related story:

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What An Amazing Community We Have! A Message from @Newtown_Police

What An Amazing Community We Have! A Message from @Newtown_Police | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

It has been over two months since this COVID-19 pandemic impacted all of our lives.  Here at the Newtown Township Police Department we take pride in having a positive impact in our community and strengthening our relationships with our residents and businesses.  It brings us joy and we have so much appreciation for the many residents and businesses that have continued to not only donate food and delicious treats to brighten our days, but also for your kind gestures,  letters, and for donating personal protective equipment for officers to protect ourselves.

 

A huge thank you to; ServPro, Staples, Temperance House, The Coffee Room, Greater Newtown Republican Club, Vince’s Pizza, Pastor Leah & The Anchor Church, Vecchia Osteria, Fancy Fig, Guru’s Fine Indian Cuisine, Francesco’s Pizza, Chipotle, Mod Pizza, Pa Indian Community Association, John Myers of J-vac Maintenance, Playa Bowls, Ring, Jillamy Inc, Nails by Lindsay, Learning Express Toys, Piccolo Trattoria, Nothing Bundt Cakes, KVK Tech, Chick-Fil-A, Triple Sun Spirits Co., Girl Scout Troops, #shoplocal #supportlocalbusiness. A special thank you to Morris Kaplan and family, Jim Worthington and the Newtown Athletic Club, Delcua-Foley, Palino family, Szczepanski, Heather C., Kathy Cabo, Lauren and her family, and the Bates family, including our own member’s relatives for their special acts of kindness. 

 

We also appreciate all the anonymous donations that residents and businesses have graciously provided.  Thanks also to the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds for their special tribute; #AmericaStrong, Miss Birkbeck and her students at Goodnoe Elementary for their video, and particularly “Julia” for her kind letter to the Chief.

 

We would be remiss if we failed to THANK our medical providers in the region, all the nurses, doctors, and EMS workers along with our fire services; Newtown Emergency Services, Linghocken Fire Company, Newtown Fire Association, and Bucks County Radio Room, without your knowledge, skills, and abilities coupled with your dedication and professionalism, we couldn’t ask for better partners.

Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®: https://bucks.crimewatchpa.com/newtowntwppd/34824/post/what-amazing-community-we-have

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Bucks Co. ZIP Codes With Most Coronavirus Cases

Bucks Co. ZIP Codes With Most Coronavirus Cases | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Bucks County has nearly 2,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with the highest concentration of cases in the lower and central parts of the county.

New data released this week by the state shows the case counts by ZIP code. In Bucks County, the ZIP codes with the highest number of cases include Doylestown, Bensalem, and Morrisville, the data shows.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Newtown has 65 cases.

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Temporary Field Hospital Going Up At The NAC Sports Training Center

Temporary Field Hospital Going Up At The NAC Sports Training Center | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A temporary field hospital will be going up at the Newtown Athletic Club to help with area healthcare needs during the coronavirus crisis.

The temporary hospital, to be set up by the Bucks County Emergency Management Agency, will be located at the sports training facility, according to Newtown Township officials.

According to Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack, the facility will have between 80 and 100 [beds]. It will be an overflow facility to be used if necessary, and will not take COVID-19 patients.

The NAC confirmed it was preparing for the temporary facility; additional details are expected later Wednesday.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Bucks County worked with Newtown Township Manager Micah Lewis, emergency services department Chief Glenn Forsyth and other township officials to make sure the facility has alternative generator power, beds and medical supplies.

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Newtown Police Operating “Routinely” During COVID-19 Restrictions

Newtown Police Operating “Routinely” During COVID-19 Restrictions | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

According to the latest Newtown Township Press Release, the Newtown Township Police Department is operating “routinely” during the current coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully certain precautions are being taken to protect police officers who interact with the public on a daily basis.

 

The March 20-26, 2020, weekly call report from the Newtown Police Dept shows that officers responded to 261 calls for service versus an average of 364 per week from 9 Jan 2020 through 12 Mar 2020 – a drop of 28%. As noted in the report this is due to “COVID-19 restrictions” mostly regarding traffic citations.

 

I noticed two interesting items in the latest weekly call report that I have not seen before:

 

  • 12 Foot Patrol Reports, and
  • 0 Traffic Citations!

 

What's up with that? More...

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Newtown Police To Launch Month-Long Aggressive Driving Crackdown

Newtown Police To Launch Month-Long Aggressive Driving Crackdown | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Newtown Township is one of 60 police departments in the Philadelphia area that will launch a month-long, coordinated aggressive-driving enforcement campaign starting this week.

 

The campaign starts Wednesday, July 29 and goes through Aug. 23. The goal is to decrease crashes, injuries, and deaths on roadways, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

 

[The 2019 Aggressive Driving Enforcement Program ran from March 18, 2019, through April 28, 2019; there were nearly 300 traffic citations issued by the Newtown Police Department in March that year. See chart here.]

 

The enforcement wave will focus on red light running, tailgating, pedestrian safety and heavy truck violations. Drivers exhibiting other aggressive actions or unsafe behaviors such as speeding or distracted driving may also be cited, according to officials.

 

According to 2019 PennDOT data, there were 1,546 aggressive-driving related crashes, resulting in 22 fatalities in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.

 

Municipal police agencies that participated in last year's campaign made 39,141 aggressive-driving related contacts statewide, which included citing 22,353 drivers for speeding, and 3,077 citations for failure to stop for red lights and stop signs.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

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#COVID-19 Delays - in Some Cases, Cancels - National Night Out Community Policing Events

#COVID-19 Delays - in Some Cases, Cancels - National Night Out Community Policing Events | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Bucks police departments are making changes to their annual National Night Out events amid the coronavirus outbreak.

National Night Out, which is typically held in early August, are gatherings that local police hold with their community members.

Those events range from large block parties to individual, smaller gatherings throughout their respective municipalities. The goal, according to the event website, is to build relationships between police and their communities.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s National Night Out was scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 4. In Pennsylvania, 335 cities were expected to hold their events, according to the event website.

The national effort organizers recommended police departments throughout the country host their National Night Out events on Oct. 6, which some Bucks departments are currently scheduling.

Middletown and Richland police departments are tentatively scheduled to hold theirs in October, according to officials in both departments.

Middletown’s event is scheduled to be held at the township municipal building from 6 to 8 p.m.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Newtown Police Chief Hearn has said (here): "Any homeowner’s associations, business groups, religious institutions, or local community groups that would like for the Newtown Township Police department to send a representative to their meetings and /or events to provide safety tips, updates, or just to meet your local officers, are encouraged to reach out to us with the proposed dates, time and location of their events (*After Covid19).    Collaboration is a powerful tool in community policing!"

 

I suggest that instead of "After Covid19", that the Chief follow the lead of out municipalities such as Middletown and tentatively set Oct 6, 2020, as a date for reaching out to the community. Instead of meeting at the Town Hall, I would suggest that representatives from the department go out to several smaller meetings on that night - the Chief cannot be everywhere one may be scheduled, but can make an appearance at one or two. Whatever it takes for a more diverse audience to get to know our police officers.

 

Related Content:

  • “@Newtown_Police Chief John Hearn Thanks Residents for Attending Town Hall Meeting”; http://sco.lt/5RsWSe
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@Newtown_Police Chief John Hearn Thanks Residents for Attending Town Hall Meeting

@Newtown_Police Chief John Hearn Thanks Residents for Attending Town Hall Meeting | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

I wanted to personally thank all residents, business owner’s, and concerned citizens who attended our Newtown Township Police Town Hall meeting last evening [July 23, 2020].

 

Additionally, I would like to thank our appointed and elected officials, particularly Newtown Township Manager Micah Lewis, Board Supervisors John Mack, David Oxley and Dennis Fisher, along with Bucks County’s District Attorney Matt Weintraub for their appearance as well and their vested interest in the safety of our community.

 

I apologize for the capacity restrictions due to Covid19 (as required by the Governor’s order), but the meeting still provided some great insight and effective dialogue between our department members, our community members, and our elected officials.

 

Although we did not have enough time to elaborate on some of the questions that were received, we are open to continuing the dialogue and hearing from our various neighbors as to how we can continue to improve the police services in Newtown, our policing profession, while continuing to enhance our community relations, ensuring fairness, respect and dignity to all. Please follow our social media sites for future scheduled meetings and community events.

 

*Note - Any homeowner’s associations, business groups, religious institutions, or local community groups that would like for the Newtown Township Police department to send a representative to their meetings and /or events to provide safety tips, updates, or just to meet your local officers, are encouraged to reach out to us with the proposed dates, time and location of their events (*After Covid19).    Collaboration is a powerful tool in community policing!

Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®: https://bucks.crimewatchpa.com/newtowntwppd/34824/post/thank-you-attending-our-town-hall-meeting

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PA Police Reform Bills Waiting for Governor Wolf to Sign

PA Police Reform Bills Waiting for Governor Wolf to Sign | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The Pennsylvania legislature has adjourned for its summer recess after sending two police reform bills to Gov. Tom Wolf.

 

Bills waiting to be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf

As of July 9, the legislature has sent two reform bills to Wolf’s desk. A spokesperson for the governor said he plans to sign them next week.

 

House Bill 1841, sponsored by Rep. Harry Readshaw (D., Allegheny) and Rep. Chris Rabb (D., Philadelphia): This legislation will require all law enforcement agencies in the state to consult a new database with information on disciplinary actions, performance evaluations, and attendance records during a background check.

 

Currently, there is no uniform way for local police departments in Pennsylvania to share instances of officer misconduct with other agencies, meaning someone fired for an egregious reason could find a job with another department.

 

The bill does make available under the state’s open-records law “hiring reports” that must be compiled if a department chooses to hire an applicant with a criminal conviction or binding disciplinary action for wrongdoing, including excessive force, discrimination, and sexual abuse.

 

The Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC), which sets statewide training and certification standards, will determine how detailed those reports will be.

 

House Bill 1910, sponsored by Rep. Dan WIlliams (D., Chester): The other measure before Wolf will require MPOETC to train local officers on how to treat people of diverse backgrounds and require annual in-service training on use-of-force and de-escalation techniques.

 

But more training doesn’t necessarily mean better outcomes. Andy Hoover, a spokesperson for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, referenced the death of Osaze Osagie, a 29-year-old black man with chronic mental illness who was shot and killed by State College police in 2019.

 

“The officers had what is considered the gold standard of police training on [mental health] crisis intervention. And still they killed him, with no [mental health] professional on the scene,” Hoover said. “In that case, at least, more training failed to save Osaze’s life.”

 

In an internal June newsletter, MPOETC training unit director Isaac Suydam wrote that developing training for officers is difficult and training does not always change outcome.

 

“[S]ometimes we fall into the trap of believing operational mistakes indicate a lack of effective training, and while they may, that is not always the case,” Suydam said. “Sometimes, despite the training they have received, officers make bad choices.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

An idea discussed at the June 17, 2020, Zoom meeting of the Newtown Township Human Relations Commission concerned diverting some police funds to support mental health workers who could respond to 911 calls involving a mental health incident and it may be a topic for discussion at the July 23, 2020, Police Town Hall Meeting (more about that here).

  

Related Content:

  • “This Oregon Town of 170,000 Replaced Some Cops with Medics and Mental Health Workers. It's Worked for Over 30 Years.”; http://sco.lt/7o0R0a
  • “Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting”; http://sco.lt/7pKMW8
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Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting

Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Based on response, additional meetings may be scheduled in the future.

 

Submit your comments/questions via my Newtown Police Town Hall Questionnaire in case you are unable attend for personal reasons (e.g., conflict) or if you were not able to attend due to seating limits. Include any questions or comments you wish for me to submit to the Chief. You also can submit questions/comments/concerns directly to the Chief via email to: PoliceTownHall@newtownpa.gov

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Middletown Supports #BlackLivesMatter AND Its Police Well-Trained Police Department

Middletown Supports #BlackLivesMatter AND Its Police Well-Trained Police Department | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

All Middletown police are required to take a total of 64 hours a year in various types of training designed to avoid incidents like the George Floyd death.

 

Middletown supervisors stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement but also support their police officers, all five board members said at a recent virtual meeting.

 

“You can do both,” supervisors Vice-Chairwoman Amy Strouse said.

 

Board members, none of whom are African-American, said they “stand with those protesting” but added they do not favor defunding the township police department.

 

Fully or partially defunding police and allocating finances elsewhere is an idea that has gotten of lot of discussion recently in the wake of protests of the death of Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police.

 

The discussion at the Middletown meeting was sparked by an emailed comment from a resident suggesting that funding for township police be curtailed.

 

“While we do not support calls to defund the Middletown police department, we certainly recognize that there is always room for self examination,” supervisors Chairman Mike Ksiazek said. “We welcome the opportunity to review our policing policies and training with the public.”

 

Middletown officers must take every year 24 hours of use of force training and eight hours each of de-escalation of conflict training; racial and ethnic bias training; gender bias training in response to domestic violence and sexual assault; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bias training; and community policing and problem solving training.

 

“So, while there is always room for improvement, and we welcome a dialogue with the community on ways to improve policing and end racism, we also recognize that our police department is ahead on these efforts,” Ksiazek said.

 

Supervisor Tom Tosti suggested that in addition to police, all township employees take implicit bias training, which involves educating people on biases they might not even realize they have.

 

That training should also be made available to the public, he added.

 

Board member Anna Payne suggested bringing in organizations like the Langhorne-based Peace Center and the Bucks County NAACP for possible training and programs designed to improve race relations.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

"We welcome a dialogue with the community on ways to improve policing and end racism." Upon my suggestion, Newtown Police Chief John Hearn has agreed to participate in a Town Hall meeting with residents to hear their concerns about racism and other issues related to the police force. For more on that and other ideas for action items to make sure there is no room for racism in Newtown, read the transcript of the June 17, 2020, Newtown Township Human Relations Commission Zoom meeting on racism.

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CDC Publishes "Decision Trees" To Aid Pandemic Re-opening Decisions: Light on Actual Guidelines, More or Less Just Suggestions

CDC Publishes "Decision Trees" To Aid Pandemic Re-opening Decisions: Light on Actual Guidelines, More or Less Just Suggestions | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[The “Decision Tree” for reopening camps is shown above.]

 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published six "decision trees" Thursday aimed at helping businesses, communities, schools, camps, daycares and mass transit decide whether it's safe to re-open.

 

The one-page decision trees are much shorter than a much-anticipated, lengthy and detailed document that has been delayed at least once.

 

The six documents posted on the CDC's website Thursday provide step-by-step guidance advising employers, for instance, to encourage social distancing, handwashing and intensified cleaning.

 

They do not provide any detailed advice on when it would be safe for schools or business to open -- only questions to ask before making any decisions.

 

For camps, the advice includes screening. "If feasible, implement enhanced screening for children and employees who have recently been present in areas of high transmission, including temperature checks and symptom monitoring," the decision tree reads.

 

Full guidance for the pandemic is on the CDC's website. It was not immediately clear what further guidance might be coming from the CDC, or when it might come.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

The CDC’s more detailed guidance was shelved by the administration April 30, according to internal government emails and CDC sources who were granted anonymity because they were not cleared to speak to the press. After The AP reported about the burying of the guidance last week, the White House asked the CDC to revive parts of it, which were sent back for approval, according to emails and interviews.

 

Access the 63-page CDC Guidance for Opening Up America Again Framework document. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6889330-Guidance-for-Opening-Up-America-Again-Framework.html 

 

Meanwhile, Newtown Township is planning to open summer camps without specific guidance from the CDC. Are you comfortable with that? Take my survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLYN77J 

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, May 16, 7:15 AM

Newtown is planning to open summer camps this year apparently following this decision tree (read the story in the Newtown Patch: “Newtown Twp Moving Forward With Summer Camp Plans”). Would you feel comfortable sending your child to summer camp under these conditions? TAKE MY 1-MINUTE SURVEY and give me your opinion and comments.

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Bucks County Commissioners Demand State Move Bucks Into “Yellow” COVID-19 Reopen Phase Sooner Rather Than Later

Bucks County Commissioners Demand State Move Bucks Into “Yellow” COVID-19 Reopen Phase Sooner Rather Than Later | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The deadline is for the county to learn the date when Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine plan to move Bucks County from the “red” phase to “yellow,” which will allow loosening of restrictions for residents and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 300 local residents. [341 as of 5/11/20 – see graphic.]

 

“The overwhelming majority of Bucks County has understood and agreed with the unprecedented steps which needed to be taken to contain this virus,” Commissioner Harvie said. “I’m confident that the governor will allow Bucks to move into the ‘yellow’ phase before June 4. But even in the yellow phase there will be restrictions we must abide by, and not every business will be allowed to open. Still, it will be a step forward, and a step closer to normalcy.”

 

“The citizens of Bucks have been patient and committed to the requirements of a stay-at-home order and use of PPE; now they need to be given the final date so they can prepare for the change, which will involve extensive social distancing requirements,” Ellis-Marseglia said.

 

“The overwhelming majority of Bucks County has understood and agreed with the unprecedented steps which needed to be taken to contain this virus,” Harvie said. “I’m confident that the governor will allow Bucks to move into the ‘yellow’ phase before June 4. But even in the yellow phase there will be restrictions we must abide by, and not every business will be allowed to open. Still, it will be a step forward, and a step closer to normalcy.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Some people – including Bucks County Commissioners - have argued that nursing home deaths should not be counted as part of the reopening calculations. Indeed, 277 of the 341 deaths due to COVID-19 in Bucks County were “associated” with nursing homes and personal care homes (https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx). That’s 81% of the total. But the data also includes employees at these facilities. In terms of cases of COVID-19 cases, employees account for 270 versus 1221 among residents. That's 18% of the total. I can’t find data about the number of employees who have died. In any case, these employees can be spreading the virus in the community at large. According to Gov. Wolf’s plan, moving into the “yellow” phase depends on the number of new cases – not deaths - per 100,000 population. Nursing home employees should be counted among that number.

 

Related:

  • “Newtown Twp Moving Forward With Summer Camp Plans”; http://sco.lt/6gNAxs
  • “To Reopen Local Businesses, Townships Must Develop Guidelines to Ensure Citizens are Safe. CASE STUDY: Middletown & Sesame Place”; http://sco.lt/5n5C5Y

 

How comfortable would you be sending your kids to summer camp? Take my survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLYN77J

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Newtown Township Police Back to Proactively Enforcing Traffic Laws

Newtown Township Police Back to Proactively Enforcing Traffic Laws | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, our traffic enforcement initiative has been scaled back the past several weeks to protect our officers and the public from community spread, in addition to the reduced traffic that has been on our roadways within our communities [see chart above]. However, with the warmer weather approaching and the easing of the Governor’s restrictions to certain locations within our State, Newtown Township Law Enforcement officers will be returning to proactively enforcing all segments of the motor vehicle codes to ensure for the safety of the motoring public, as well as the pedestrian and bicyclist that are traversing our roadways.  

 

Police Chief John Hearn asking for your support that all operators of motor vehicles abide by all the rules of the road; watch your speed, obey traffic control signals, yield to pedestrians, put down your cell phones, and wear your seat belts so that unnecessary contact does not have to occur between any of our officers and you. #Communitysupport

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related:

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Newtown Police Weekly Report for April 17-23: Theft from Cars, Fraud Top The List

Newtown Police Weekly Report for April 17-23: Theft from Cars, Fraud Top The List | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The April 17-23, 2020, weekly call report from the Newtown Police Dept shows that officers responded to 224 calls for service that week. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we are still seeing a reduction in calls compared to period prior to March 13, 2020 (see chart).

 

There were several calls regarding theft from vehicles. According to the report: "Many of these crimes have been occurring throughout Bucks County in the early morning hours. We are asking commercial delivery drivers, newspaper delivery personnel and early morning risers to pay attention and immediately report ANY suspicious activity. AS ALWAYS, WE REMIND EVERYONE TO PLEASE REMOVE ALL VALUABLES AND LOCK YOUR CARS!"

 

Several other cases involved fraud.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

See INCIDENT BLOTTER: APRIL 17 - 23, 2020 for details crimewatch.net/l/120637

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PA Releases Reopening Framework, 6 Standards Set, But No Timeline Yet

PA Releases Reopening Framework, 6 Standards Set, But No Timeline Yet | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Gov. Tom Wolf, in a Friday afternoon address, laid out six factors that will guide the state's reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed 756 Pennsylvanians.

 

During his comments, Wolf laid out additional details on the state's reopening and recovery process during a health crisis that has prompted nearly one and a half million unemployment filings in the state in the past month alone.

 

However, he did not provide a timeline for when the measures will begin to be lifted.

 

The reopening will be done regionally based on case data and risk, he said. "Unfortunately we cannot flip a switch and reopen the commonwealth," he said, noting the reopening will be data-driven and evidence-based.

 

Here are the six standards the governor announced Friday would be used to guide the reopening process:

 

  1. The reopening will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach.
  2. Guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers will be established for assured accountability.
  3. Adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing must be available.
  4. A monitoring and surveillance program must be established to allow the the state to trace contacts and respond swiftly to contain or mitigate outbreaks.
  5. Protections for vulnerable populations will remain, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  6. Limitations on large gatherings will remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.

 

The governor said he expects additional details on the process to be released next week as discussions with experts and stakeholders continue.

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Three Additional Middletown Cops Test Positive For COVID-19

Three Additional Middletown Cops Test Positive For COVID-19 | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Three additional Middletown police officers have tested positive for COVID-19.

The names of the officers were not released, but Chief of Police Joseph Bartorilla said the officers were at home recovering.

“We have a couple more officers who have symptoms who are quarantined and we are awaiting test results on, but we can’t say for sure until we get the results. We have several with no symptoms but who have had close contact with our positive officers, so as a precaution for our safety and the public’s safety we are also quarantining and testing them before allowing them back to work,” the chief told LevittownNow.com.

Bucks County officials were not willing to name the agencies where emergency responders who had COVID-19 worked, but Health Director Dr. David Damsker said there were several responders and medical professionals who have the virus.

Since Middletown Officer Ryan Morrison was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in March, Bartorilla said the department has been “strict about quarantining and testing officers.” He said the department’s goal is to be proactive to avoid the “massive problem” of having enough officers testing positive that it impacts public safety.

Bartorilla said the department’s strategy to “immediately removing from duty and quarantining officers who have had close contact with positive cases and getting them tested before allowing them to return to work.”

The chief praised his officers who have stepped forward to fill shifts and keep protection around the clock.

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