Colon and Kott eye a “Hub” program

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Chief Kott outlines her new plans at the budget meeting

Here FYI is the line item portion of the Police budget. If money were to be moved around, it would be from here. The police remain about 20% of the total budget of the City.

Gadfly mentioned in the previous post that we are beginning to learn more about the ideas that Chief Kott has as she is settling in to her new role leading the department.

Later in the Budget meeting Councilman Colon initiated an interesting conversation about a “Hub” program such as the one in Upper Macungie.

The Councilman seemed quite interested and willing to back it — though apparently seeing it existing without additional staff or resources — and the Chief reciprocated that interest and spun out a bit more on department involvement with a social worker. (7 mins.)

Interesting, but note that this Hub program does not specifically address the “first contact” situation that Gadfly has his shorts in a bunch about.

Selections from Louis Gombocz, “Upper Macungie police brief supervisors on program to get people help.” August 7, 2020.

{Sitkoski] then turned his attention to another unique feature of the Upper Macungie Township Police Department: its adoption and implementation of a HUB program. Sitoski introduced officer William Rohrbach, who presented the details to the board of supervisors.

Rohrbach, the department’s community services manager, along with Lt. Peter Nickischer brought the two-year-old program in Upper Macungie from Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County, which modeled its program on one in Canada.

Rohrbach explained that it brings communitywide resources – including social workers, drug and alcohol counselors, social service agencies and the district attorney’s office – to residents who need assistance before they become part of the criminal justice system.

“We get people help before they become an issue,” Rohrbach said, adding that the program has decreased crime as well as police calls.

Rohrbach said that residents receive action plans as the result of police referrals. People from ages 7 to 86 have been involved in the program, however about 20% of the clients are between 10 and 19.

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