He told council the police department now is marketing itself "toward officers that don't need as much training and will be readily available to hit the streets sooner."

But he stressed the department will not be cutting corners on requiring them to pass physical and psychological examinations, as well as background checks.

"We're down 14 officers," said the chief. He said before Rush was fired and three officers were hired Wednesday night, the department was down 16.

Fitzgerald said 12-14 police officers retired at the end of last year.

Council member Peter Schweyer asked the police chief to encourage the two new officers from out-of-state to become residents of Allentown.
He said it would be wonderful to have more Allentown police officers living in Allentown.

Fitzgerald promised to speak with them about that.

After the meeting, Hendricks said most city police officers do not live in the city.

Hendricks suggested to council that the city develop some kind of incentive plan to encourage more to move into the city.

Council member Cynthia Mota asked the chief if any of the three new officers are female. He said they are not, but added his goal is to get both more former military personnel and more females into the department.

"I know we only hire the best," said Hendricks.

Snow complaint

Also during the council meeting, resident Paulette Kish, complained that east Allentown "is a total mess" following recent snowstorms.

Kish, who lives along E. Chew Street, said streets on the city's West End and South Side are wide and clear of snow "but my street has not been plowed."

"They are not taking care of us who live in the homes on the east side of Allentown. As a taxpayer, I just don't think it's fair that the east side of Allentown is so neglected."

Kish said East Side residents have been patient, but many have called the city "and there's an excuse every time."