Lehigh Valley

'Crunch time' for Nazareth police force, mayor says

NAZARETH, Pa. - Mayor Carl Strye, Jr. says the borough's police department has come a long way since he took office last year, but some things still need to change.

"What I inherited was a mess," Strye said at Monday night's borough council meeting.

He declined to detail why the department was a mess, but went on to say things have changed for the better.

Still, the mayor said he plans to meet with police Chief Thomas Trachta to go over new policies the chief will be expected to carry out.

"In my opinion, it's crunch time," Strye said. "It's pretty clear the old ways have not been working in our favor. New attitudes, new policies and new guidelines are in our future."

A few changes were already in the air Monday, with council approving the hiring of new full time officer Adam Shimer and two new part time officers and the reinstatement of Officer Frederick Lahovski.

Lahovski had been fired in 2012, but got his job back earlier this year through arbitration. 

And council also approved a rule ordering the chief to wear his white uniform shirt while on duty and when attending council meetings.

"What if they go out for a drug bust, does he have to wear a white shirt then?" Councilman Carl Fischl asked.

"If he's undercover, no," said Councilman Larry Stoudt, whose finance committee had introduced the rule.

Trachta declined to comment following the meeting, other than acknowledging that he had recently begun to adhere to the white shirt rule.

"I've been wearing blue for the past five years," he said.

In a related matter, Councilman John Samus said his law committee was "working on" allegations made last month by blogger and Nazareth resident Bernie O'Hare calling for Trachta's dismissal for misconduct and misuse of resources.

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