I have to draw attention to the serious, serious problems going on in South Central PA, specifically Dauphin County, the Harrisburg Metro and the city itself. Now you will know exactly why I left, and why I have such animosity towards the place anymore. Unless you live(d) there, you have no idea just how bad things are there; like a typical government-based economy, they try to paint a very rosy picture on the surface. But peel a few layers back and you will quickly see the nastiness that lies beneath.
I don't see good things for its future AT ALL, and it is just one screw up after another after another after another...it has now gone WAY too far, and people's lives are now in danger!
Check out The Harrisburg Thread
to read about the ridiculousness in the city.
Highspire firefighters call for community talk
The Highspire Fire Department stopped responding to calls
after a dispute that both sides agree centered on the council's withholding the fire department's $24,000 annual allotment because its books weren't audited.
5 of DA's detectives could be laid off
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
BY GARRY LENTON
Of The Patriot-News
A Dauphin County criminal investigative unit that helps local police departments and the district attorney is facing a 40 percent cut in staff.
The county's proposed $132.5 million budget for next year calls for the elimination of five detectives in the Criminal Inves tigations Division of District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr.'s office.
The cuts, if approved when the budget goes to a vote Dec. 20, would take the force from 13 detectives to 8.
The move comes as violent-crime rates are up and Harrisburg faces possible layoffs of police officers because of a budget crisis.
The proposed county cuts are raising concern among some law enforcement agencies that depend on the investigative unit for forensic expertise, help with child-abuse cases and other assistance.
"In terms of what CID does, it's very vital to some critical aspects of law enforcement throughout the county," said Robert Martin, Susquehanna Twp. police chief and president of the Dauphin County Chiefs of Police Association.
The unit helps prosecutors prepare cases for trial, investigates shootings by police officers and helps smaller police agencies handle major crimes. The unit is working with Steelton police on a homicide.
Among the programs that could be affected are the county's drug task force, Crime Stoppers, the Capital Area Forensic Unit, the accident-reconstruction team, child-abuse investigations and drunken-driving checkpoints, Marsico said.
"If you cut five people out of this unit, it's going to impact law enforcement in a negative way," he said.
Commissioner Jeff Haste said the board is trying to balance the needs of the district attorney's office with the needs of taxpayers. The unit is not a required service under the county code, he said, adding that the detectives' functions could be performed by local police departments.
Harrisburg has had a higher-than-average number of shootings this year. The city's violent-crime rate is among the highest in the state, exceeding that of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and even Los Angeles and New York City.
Faced with a $6.8 million budget gap, the city furloughed 37 managers and police cadets. Thirty-eight nonuniformed employees could be laid off in January if the budget impasse isn't broken by the mayor and City Council.
Mayor Stephen R. Reed has talked of laying off police officers if council does not approve his budget plan for next year.
In contrast to the city's situation, the commissioners recently touted the county's strong financial position, resulting in part from the pending sale of Spring Creek Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Swatara Twp.
"Cutting police at a time when crime is on the rise does not make sense to me," Marsico said.
"It will impact us," Swatara Twp. Police Chief David Bogdanovic said. "Every agency in this county depends on them to some degree."
The impact would be greatest if the office no longer could administer programs that cross municipal lines, such as DUI checkpoints, the drug task force and forensics, Bogdanovic said.
"Without them, a lot of this will fall by the wayside. That's what we're worried about," he said.
The cuts are not definite. Haste said the board is talking with Marsico's office to find ways to improve efficiency.
The county is looking to shift money into a program called "J-net," a database that ties the county's police forces together. Building a uniform system that allows police to look up criminal information about suspects will increase costs, Haste said.
Democratic Commissioner George Hartwick III agreed that J-net will become a county priority but said he's not sure he will support unit cuts. "I would tend not to be as supportive of those cuts during a crime spree," he said.
But he's not ready to say whether he'll vote against the budget.
"I've been told by CID and Ed Marsico that I'll be hearing from them to make their case," Hartwick said. "I remain uncommitted to that issue until then."