OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bicycle Patrol Unit of the Allentown Police Department recently received a generous donation of three brand new, top-of-the-line bicycles from the Lehigh Valley Electricians Local 375, members of the Lehigh Valley Building and Construction Trades Council.  The bikes, worth $4,500,were presented during a news conference in City Council Chambers inside Allentown City Hall.  Each completely outfitted bike costs approximately $1,500 and feature 29 speeds.

“We’ve heard so many good things about the bicycle cops downtown before and after events at the PPL Arena” said Dave Reichard, President of Lehigh Valley Electricians Local 375, which is based in Allentown.  “People feel safe with them there.  We are so grateful that we can do this for the Police Department and the City of Allentown.  Our members benefited from the jobs that were created by all of the construction downtown, so it is our way of giving something back to the City.”

Mayor Pawlowski said, “The IBEW has been a great community partner. The city gratefully accepts the donation to help the department increase public safety.”

The money for the bikes came through the membership dues for those who work in the union.  This is one of the many community service projects that members of the Lehigh Valley Building Trades perform throughout the year across the entire Lehigh Valley region.

Paul Anthony Jr., Business Manager for Local 375, stated that this supports the partnership between the business community and the Police Department.  “The Bike Patrol officers were always around during construction of the arena, and they have changed the perception that downtown Allentown in now safe again for visitors.  We’re happy to give back and support these officers.  They do a tremendous job, and we appreciate what they do, especially on cold days like today.”

According to Assistant Police Chief Mike Morris, the city has approximately 40 officers who are certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association.  He said 17 bicycles have been donated to the city over the last 12 months.  He also stated that the bikes allow officers to get into places that patrol cars can’t and they make officers more accessible to the people in the community.

“These bikes are designed to take a beating,” said Bike Officer Scott Magill.  “The Tires are made for an urban environment and the disc brakes are designed for all weather.”

The new Trek model bikes will be put into service immediately.




Cellphone TextingIf you need help in an emergency and cannot speak for any reason, you can now text 911 on all major wireless carriers anywhere in the City of Allentown as part of the TEXT to 9-1-1 initiative.

Back in April, Allentown became one of less than 100 911 Emergency Communication Centers in the country to provide Verizon Wireless customers an interim solution for emergency help when a person is unable to make a 911 voice call by sending a text message to the 911 emergency number.  Service for T-Mobile customers was added in early June. With the successful deployment of Text to 9-1-1 services with AT&T and Sprint, all customers of the four major wireless carriers within the city are now able to utilize this potentially lifesaving service.

“I’m very proud of the team at our 9-1-1 Communications Center for their diligent work on this project,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “Enhancing our public safety service is certainly a great benefit for the citizens, visitors and first responders of the city.”

“I am happy to see that the Text to 9-1-1 services we have deployed are being successfully used by our citizens to request emergency assistance,” said Superintendent of Communication Michael Hilbert. “The inclusion of Text to 9-1-1 service for all major wireless carriers will now allow the majority of our citizens and visitors access to the public safety services of the city of Allentown when they are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1.”

The Allentown 9-1-1 Center will now be working with the other wireless carriers operating in our area to provide Text to 9-1-1 service to their customers by the end of 2014.

Text to 911 is intended primarily for use in two emergency scenarios:

o For an individual who is speech or hearing impaired

o For a person who is unable to make a voice call, for example during a medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech, or in the instance of a home invasion, domestic violence, or abduction.

Customers should use the texting option only when calling 911 is NOT an option.
Users should call if they can and text if they can’t speak.   Using a phone to call 911 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help.  One must remember that texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. It may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text to 911 situation because of the extra time necessary to process a text message.

In case you are in an emergency situation where you need to text, it is imperative that you immediately provide an exact location and the nature of the emergency in a short, precise message.  Remember that text messages sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages, and that you should not send pictures, videos or any other attachments.

Do not use text abbreviations or slang so that the intent of the emergency message is as clear as possible.

The texting function should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.

Non-emergency issues should still be communicated to the Allentown Communications Center through its non-emergency line at (610) 437-7751.



Chief Fitzgerald and Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Stephen Fiorillo Honoring Former Allentown Police Officers that have Passed Away.

In honor of National Police week, the Allentown Police Department honored more than 60 officers and members of the community at the Scottish Rite Cathedral during a two-hour commendation and award presentation ceremony. The event also served as a memorial service. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin was the principal speaker. Residents and businesses were also honored for their contributions and donations, which included elementary school student safety officers, as well as a crossing guard.

Commendations for bravery, heroism, merit, and achievement were distributed during the ceremony.

Several officers received commendations for bravery, with Allentown police officer Ryan Koons receiving three, Officer David Howells III and Officer Robert Flores receiving two, and Lieutenant William Reinik, Sergeant William Lake and officers Craig Berger, Alfred Boccadoro, Alex de la Iglesia, George Heiserman, Stephen James, Mark Jarrouj, John Leonard, Damien Lobach, Ryan Murray, Scott Snyder and Richard Wehr receiving one.

Other officers received commendations for heroism. These officers included: Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, Leonard Fritzinger, Cherie Lebert, John Leonard, Nicholas Lerch, Chad Mertz, Stephen Rosenberger, Dale Stokes, Scott Snyder and Johann Wilcox.

The Police Department also issued commendations for merit as well, with officers Matthew Diehl, Robert Flores and Kyle Pammer receiving two commendations each. Sergeant Eric Heicklen, Detective Sergeant Salvatore Aprile, Detective Eric Brenner and officers Ryan Alles, Michael Beidelman, Craig Berger, Lonny Bryfogle, Vicor Diaz-Gonzalez, Andrew Fegely, Dean Flyte, Leonard Fritzinger, Christopher Hendricks, David Howells III, Ryan Koons, Kirk Pierson, Stephen Rosenberger and Matthew Vernon also received commendations for merit.

Two commendations for achievement were awarded to Officer Matthew Vernon, with Lieutenant Andrew Hausman and officers Yamil Castillo, Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, Christopher Hendricks, Benjamin Iobst, Ryan Koons, Johann Wilcox and Para Police Officer Joey Rivera receiving commendations for achievement as well. Commendations of merit also went to Jeffrey Bruchak, a Whitehall Township police detective, and Chad Wasserman, a City of Bethlehem police detective.

Civilians honored included: Edwin Aponte, Wilkyns Melendez, Sammy Sanchez, Joseph and Matthew Kochan, Angel Otero, Milagros Cintron, John Badillo, George Marshall and Thomas Krasley. Also honored were the Allentown Special Fire Police, Kutztown University Professor Dr. Gary Cordner; John Sikora of Lehigh County Adult Probation; Elizabeth Fritz of Lehigh County Juvenile Probation; Colleen Gilbert and Ralph Romano of the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Unit; Diane Zanetti, Executive Director of Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley; Suzanne Beck, Executive Director of the Crime Victims Council and Thomas Kuder of Mack Trucks.

The department also recognized contributions made by Lehigh Valley Kennel Club, Allentown Dog Training Club, Packaging Corporation of America, Indian American Association of Lehigh Valley, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, Jordan-Martin Masonic Lodge #673, Fairview Crime Watch Group, Fegely Enterprises II, Inc., Hounds on Working Leashes, Carmody Shoe Repair, Bib Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Susan Pickens and Beauregard, Reverend Michael V. Comick and Stacy Bruce.

The Allentown Police Department also honored twelve students from the Allentown School District, who were awarded School Safety Patrol of the Year. They are: Amanda Aponte of Central Elementary, Mikayla Jones of Cleveland Elementary, Tyler Durgin of Hiram Dodd Elementary, Kyla Gonzalez of Jefferson Elementary, Haylie Pineiro of Lehigh Parkway Elementary, Amir Ysa of Mosser Elementary, Jaden Barr of Muhlenberg Elementary, Scarlet Abreu of Luis A. Ramos Elementary, Jalitza Hiller of Ritter Elementary, LizJenaida Lopez of Roosevelt Elementary, Bernadette Vincent of Sheridan Elementary and Omar Pagan of Union Terrace Elementary.

The award for Crossing Guard of the year went to Mary Buesgen.

The event concluded with police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and Allentown Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Stephen Fiorillo honoring former Allentown officers that have passed away. The two men laid a wreath in front of the Scottish Rite Cathedral in honor of Allentown officers Inspector Frank Peters, Captain Ernst Lilly, Captain Robert Ring, Lieutenant Detective John L. Deily, Lieutenant Anthony Guerino, Lieutenant Richard Rau, Sergeant George Horvath and Sergeant John Barnhart, who have all died over the past year.