Chief Kott mixing business and pleasure tonight at the Latinx Block Party

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

“I will absolutely give [Salsa] a try, in addition to being Chief of Police, my more important job is I’m a mom of a 6-yr-old and a 3-yr-old. Something I’m really big on is trying things, I don’t believe you shouldn’t try things, even if you are bad at it, you have to give your best attempt. So I would be a huge hypocrite if I didn’t try, and I want to show my kids that it’s about getting out there and having fun, experiencing things, I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Touchstone Theatre

Latinx Block Party
Tonight 6-9pDoors open at 5:30pm
Seating is first come, first served
Tickets are FREE, donations are welcome
Performance takes place OUTSIDE, in Touchstone’s parking lot. Masks and social distancing are required for all attendees.


Interview: James Johnson.BPD Chief Michelle Kott & Guillermo Lopez with Latinx Community Outreach. WDIY News, April 22. 2021.

Listen to Guillermo give you background about and a pep talk on the paaaarty tonight!

But Gadfly really especially wants you to listen to Chief Kott (begin min. 9:00).

Pay attention not only to what the Chief says but how she says it.

We’ve heard her forefront community engagement by the police at Council meetings.

And we’ve seen that community engagement recorded in social media lately.

This is the first time Gadfly has heard about the newly born (1 1/2 weeks ago) “Neighborhood Outreach Initiative.”

But, in addition, Gadfly wonders if, like him, you can hear in her voice genuine personal enthusiasm for community engagement and being a good mother.

Give a listen:

  • sees “perfect opportunity to get out into the community and recruit some local individuals to become Bethlehem police officers”
  • “I’m very big on having a department that represents the community”
  • “One of our goals in recruiting this year is to really try and reach out and have more Hispanic applicants, have more African American applicants, individuals of color, people who speak different languages, members of the LGBTQ community
  • “so this was perfect on the recruitment level”
  • “but also, since being appointed to this position . . . I really wanted to bring back that sense of community engagement, that community policing the BPD used to be so well known for”
  • “This is an excellent opportunity for a great cause, for Touchstone Theatre, for us to get out into the community, be there tp answer questions, learn and celebrate our local Latinx culture and community”
  • “I feel like it’s a win-win”
  • “We have a neighborhood outreach initiative that just started about a week and a half ago”
  • “We already have community police officers assigned to the business districts”
  • “We just don’t want community policing to be about a community policing unit”
  • “It’s got to be something that’s embedded in every single unit, so our neighborhood outreach consists of time slots where officers have a designated time to walk around a neighborhood or bike, get out of the car, and be more approachable, and talk to residents, play basketball with kids, hand out literature”
  • “In addition to going to events like the Block Party, we have other initiatives to get officers out of cars, interacting and talking with community members”
  • “I am a horrible dancer, but I am willing to try anything, and learn, I’m just really looking forward to engage with members of the community, informal conversations, laugh, smile, the spring is such a great time of year, and having this block party couldn’t come at a better time”
  • “People are getting vaccinated, we are no means in the clear yet with the pandemic, but this is a great opportunity to gather safely and celebrate and have a great time”
  • “I’m just looking forward to everything — the food, music, dancing, and fellowship”
  • “I will absolutely give [Salsa] a try, in addition to being Chief of police, my more important job is I’m a mom of a 6-yr-old and a 3-yr-old”
  • “Something I’m really big on is trying things, I don’t believe you shouldn’t try things, even if you are bad at it, you have to give your best attempt”
  • “So I would be a huge hypocrite if I didn’t try, and I want to show my kids that it’s about getting out there and having fun, experiencing things, I’m going to give it my best shot”

Dance on, Chief!

Addendum to the Police recruiting post

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Police announce recruiting season

Gadfly happy to add to his last post that the police will have a table with recruitment information during the April 24 Fiesta Latina! event, and that Chief Kott will also be on the Spanish radio “Mega” for a live interview, and the station will also do a PSA about the recruitment.

Tip o’ the hat!

Police announce recruiting season

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

The police are hiring!

Another reason to lament the absence of a Public Safety meeting and deeper, wider discussion of some aspects of the department.

There were several points regarding recruitment of new officers floated during the GeorgeFloyd summer worthy of battin’ around.

Like what kind of officer are we looking for, “warrior” or “guardian”? Remember the warrior department recruitment video that was online representing the department but disappeared last summer when the greater public became aware?

Like what does our testing of recruits look like? The time to weed out potential “bad apples” is right at the beginning. Training was the subject of much of the testimony at the Chauvin trial yesterday, and it was clear that training certainly has its limits. Are we testing for bias, for instance?

Like do we want to set some goals for the ethnic/racial/gender composition of the police force? Remember that several Council members talked of the importance of the department looking like the city.

Like, as part of a community policing emphasis, do we want to consider incentives for officers to live in Bethlehem?

And etcetera.

Derek Chauvin trial: Day 1

Latest in a series of posts in the wake of the George Floyd murder

Gadfly singing his solo public safety song again.

Glued to the tv yesterday.

Gadfly wishes you all had his “leisure” to sit in front of that window into the body of our legal system.

He’s been hooked on this valuable voyeurism since the Army/McCarthy hearings in his teens.

This has certainly been the year for such binge watching, what with impeachments and all.

So what were his takeaways from yesterday?

Hearing that Chauvin “did exactly what he had been trained to do” got his attention.

That’s standard script in many of the “bad cop” cases Gadfly has read about over the past year, some of which he has reviewed here.

It gets police officers acquitted from questionable behavior.

Gadfly assumes that since we have that dual accreditation, our police training is good.

But, as he suggested the other day, we don’t know much about that training. And we should know more.

The thing he found himself most thinking about was Chauvin’s disciplinary record — 18 complaints in 19 years of service.

Sounds high to this lay person.

And reminded Gadfly that one of the things on his “ask” list for a real Public Safety meeting had to do with our police department disciplinary record and process.

Bethlehem is not Minneapolis, and Minneapolis is not the national norm for bad handling of police misconduct cases, but this article, though long, is thought-provoking and not an outlier in cases Gadfly has read about and reviewed in these pages over the past year (thanks to follower MD for calling this article to his attention): “The Bad Cops: How Minneapolis protects its worst police officers until it’s too late.”

There are many accounts of officers with questionable records, with a series of troublesome incidents, that take forever to be investigated, that are most often met with slight or no discipline, that often involve police unions, and which are kept secret till there is a major blow-up.

Among reforms often suggested is an “early warning” system.

Gadfly remembers Chief DiLuzio responding to a question about discipline by affirming that the department has fired and does fire officers.

Affirming that a good system is in place.

But surely — without in any way suggesting that there is some cancer in the department — we could use more detail than that.

We just need to be secure that we aren’t incubating an officer Chauvin or the other officers cited in the above “Bad Cops” article.

Not too much to ask. But we aren’t going to get a chance to ask.

Unless the current trial reminds the powers that be of the kinds of things that we should be doing in the wake of the GeorgeFloyd event.

Gadfly implies nothing bad about the department.

He applauds the department community service he sees pictorially celebrated on Facebook right now.

He will sob when they play taps over Eric Talley today, moved by and grateful for a heroism he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t be capable of.

But he feels the City and City Council had a “job” to do that they are avoiding.

Allentown police: “We are interested in improving our methods”

Latest in a series of posts in the wake of the George Floyd murder

“This is not about replacing police officers in any capacity, this is about
doing better to serve the residents of Allentown.”
Allentown Police Chief Granitz

Gadfly always keeping an eye on what is going on around us, especially as the one-year anniversary of the GeorgeFloyd event approaches.

You know that Gadfly is a bit frustrated at what seems to him our soft response to that event.

Here is the response Chief Kott gave to Councilman Callahan’s attempt at the Public Safety meeting March 2 to get some information on the kind and extent of training our officers receive.

The Chief gives no specifics. Her answer should be the topic sentence (damn English teacher in me!) to a meeting in which we drill down in great detail.

Unfortunately, the Chief’s answer to Councilman Callahan sounds to this Gadfly like don’t worry, we’ve got it covered, no need to say any more, that’s all you need to know, training is in good hands, we’ve got it, let’s move on to the next question.

(Listen to Councilman Callahan’s tone of voice. We know the Councilman can be tough. We’ve heard that voice. But not here. Would you agree? His tone, to Gadfly, is deferential. Why? I think we need his tougher tone on this subject.)

There was just an enormous settlement in the GeorgeFloyd case — even before the trial.

That’s what’s going on these days.

We are open to great liability.

We should know more.


selections from Anthony Salamone, “Allentown, Cedar Crest College form partnership looking at city’s policing future.” March 24, 2021.

Chief Glenn E. Granitz Jr. also said the department has made strides at bettering community outreach, and the new force has become more reflective of the city’s diverse community.

But since becoming chief in 2019, Granitz said he’s also asked why the department doesn’t do more, given the community outcry over police practices locally and nationwide that have spawned protests in support of Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.

“We are interested in improving our methods,” Granitz said. “What we decided is, we needed data to show us what we were doing well, and just as importantly, where we needed to improve.”

In addition to the nationwide outrage last summer sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in a no-knock police raid in Louisville, Kentucky, there were local protests following the arrest of an intoxicated man in July in which an Allentown officer put his knee on the prone man’s head. Days before the incident, Allentown police released their use-of-force policy.

Then in September, an Allentown man who was beaten during his arrest in 2018, and acquitted of resisting arrest last year, sued the city and eight police officers, alleging excessive force and an official cover-up.

Granitz appeared Wednesday with Mayor Ray O’Connell, other city officials and leaders from Cedar Crest College to announce theCenter for Police Innovation and Community Engagement partnership.

O’Connell said the aim of the data-driven research is to evaluate Allentown police practices in four areas: strategy and practice, community outreach, organization and the transferability of nationally recognized police interventions, including an “active bystandership training” program by the Georgetown University Law Center. Allentown was one of the first 30 police departments in the nation selected for the program, which provides officers with tactics to intervene and prevent misconduct by their peers.

The city and Cedar Crest, which offers a criminal justice major, will work on a three-year process of establishing a community police program with the city. Part of the process will be researching community policing programs in other cities.

“We believe strongly that policing is a process and not an event,” said Scott Hoke, who chairs the department. “And as a social process, anything can be measured and accessed for its effectiveness.”

Hoke said Cedar Crest has begun surveying officers about handling calls among residents with behavioral issues with a goal down the road of developing guidelines such as how often officers need to respond in cases of crisis residents. He said results of the survey will take “months, not days or weeks” to measure.

Granitz said that once survey results are received, police leaders will meet with city and Lehigh County officials to discuss whether any crisis intervention programs or training would require changes.

City Council in November allocated $40,000 per year over three years for the program, part of $40.8 million Granitz sought last fall during the city’s budget review. The college, meanwhile, has committed two student interns per semester to assist in developing crime analysis data, as well offer its campus for several annual police training events.

“This is not about replacing police officers in any capacity,” Granitz said. “This is about doing better to serve the residents of Allentown.

“At the base of this program and relationship is looking at policing in a different way in terms of how are we policing in our community, what are we needing to do to serve residents better.”

More on the new look in the police department

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

Bethlehem Police Department 2021 Reorganization Chart
Public Safety Committee meeting, March 2, 2021

ref: The Police Department gets a new look
ref: Sara K. Satullo, “Bethlehem’s 154-member police force reorganized with new community focus.”, March 4, 2021.
ref: Christina Tatu, “Bethlehem Police reorganize to create new community services division.” Morning Call, March 3, 2021.

Speaking as a resident, Gadfly was not all that satisfied with Chief Kott’s presentation of her reorganization plan for the police department at the Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday, March 2.

Speaking as a resident, Gadfly was frustrated by the first 20 minutes or so of the meeting during which Chief Kott read her presentation.

“Over the past several months,” Chief Kott began her presentation, “we have assessed the Department’s allocation of personnel.”

To Gadfly, this is primarily a personnel report. For the bureaucrats. For the beancounters.

Unless Gadfly is mistaken (and he’ll always take a slap upside the head), the report is too much “in the weeds” to be of substantial value to residents.

Of course Gadfly is being unreasonably crotchety.

The report, after all, was not meant for residents. In fact, it does not appear that residents were even considered as an audience for the report. It was not made available for the public to think about beforehand, nor is it yet available to the public as far as he can see as of press time early Thursday night — although Gadfly asked at the meeting that it be done so. There were 40 or so people viewing the livestream of the meeting — a goodly number. Access to the report beforehand might have generated more public participation.

Anyway, what makes Gadfly crotchety is that when it comes to talk of the police since last June, Gadfly never seems to be hearing what he wants to hear.

Rodney King is 30 years ago almost to the day. Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Jury selection for George Floyd starts Monday. Opening arguments are March 29. And we seem to be re-arranging the desks in City Hall.

Here’s what Gadfly the resident wanted to hear up-front at the get-go:

  • the occasion, the rationale for the reorganization (national reckoning on race)
  • what the organization is now, and how we are going to differ
  • the specific goals of the reorganization (not boilerplate)
  • the means to achieve those goals
  • an executive summary, a bullet list of takeaways
  • what changes will be visible to residents
  • benchmarks, metrics for evaluation (as caller Michele suggested)

Instead, for resident Gadfly, we went into the weeds. There is a wealth of detail in the report, but that wealth of detail is not of primary interest or value to the resident — well, to this resident.

In fact, Gadfly wonders how much value the report really was for Council members. They did speak respectfully to the Chief.

But what Gadfly learned of import to him as a resident about the Chief’s motives and goals came more from Council questions than her presentation.

To wit:

  • a long-term goal for the Chief is more officers attending community events

In this exchange with Councilwoman Negron, the Chief says she has the opportunity to expand on her long-term goals in restructuring. The trouble for Gadfly is that she has not previously in the presentation clearly articulated her goals, long- or short-term. The long-term goal described here is to increase the number and variety of officers who attend community events. To give the department more faces to the community. The means to achieve that goal is to pair patrol officers and community officers. The established community officers will model community activities for the patrol officers, who are becoming increasingly younger (and therefore moldable) as the force evolves. The community officers will have built rapport with the community, and they will bring the patrol officers in on foot, on bike, out of the cars for face-to-face contact with the community. They will work together, asks Councilwoman Negron? Yes is the reply. But Gadfly is having a hard time imagining that. Community officers and patrol officers are in different stems of the organizational chart. They do not link laterally. And the Chief’s hospital analogy breaks down. After the ER doc has finished, there is normally no contact with the specialty doctor. So how does that pairing (in effect, mentoring) of officers occur? Gadfly does not see that yet.

  • the Chief wants to improve communication with the public

Further in the conversation with Councilwoman Negron, the Chief indicates that currently the department does not communicate well with the public. “There is no central point person” to handle the communication with the public. Through the restructuring of the leadership positions, “we can do better at getting information out to the media and the community.”

  • the Chief wants to return to the brand of community policing that involves walking, biking

Councilwoman Crampsie Smith asks if we are “going back to more of this community policing” with this model. The answer is yes. We’re trying to mesh two things we do really, really well — what we did really well in the past, getting out into the community, walking, biking, forming partnerships (language is not clear, do or did?) and being proactive in enforcement.  This “hybrid blend” capitalizes on what our department has done well. This approach will enable the whole department to engage in that “community policing” philosophy. So does that mean that we will be doing more of the community policing that involves officers walking and biking and out visible in the community more? If so, that sounds like real news to Gadfly. But our local reporters haven’t picked up on that, so maybe Gadfly is misunderstanding.

  • the Chief envisions more and more training

We agree that all officers will get training in such things as mental health and de-escalation, says Councilwoman Crampsie Smith, but now that we are moving to more specialized units, can that mean more in the way of specialized training? The answer is yes, and the Chief envisions that being out in the community, the officers will make relationships and partnerships with subject-matter experts that will increase the number and kind of training topics in which the community can participate.

  • the Chief is all-in on the department liaison with the mental health person

All members of the force must interact with the mental health specialist, not just the ones in some community service units.

So Gadfly the resident did learn some important things about what the new organization plan aims to achieve.

And maybe if the personnel ducks are in a row, Council and the Department can take a bit deeper view of the Department.

He’s hoping for another Public Safety meeting before long.

Gadfly is hoping that on the May 25th anniversary of the George Floyd episode the department will have much substantive to say about lessons learned.

The Police Department gets a new look

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

Bethlehem Police Department 2021 Reorganization Chart
Public Safety Committee meeting, March 2, 2021

For better images of the charts, click the “Reorganization Chart” link above.

At the Public Safety Committee meeting March 2, our Chief Kott laid out her new organizational structure for the police department.

The old structure can be found here: divisions of Police Administration, Professional Standards, Patrol, and Criminal Investigation.

Here is the new structure: Administration, Patrol, and Support Services.

In her presentation to Council, Chief Kott gave special emphasis to the new “Support Services” division shown here, which is broken down into Criminal Investigation, Community Services, and Traffic and School Safety:

In an interesting analogy, Chief Kott likened the relationship between the Patrol division and the new Support Services division as the relationship between the Emergency Room and Specialty Practices in a hospital setting.

The Chief’s full presentation is written out on the reorganization chart document linked above and can heard on the meeting video.

Gadfly will return later to capture some of the discussion after the Chief’s presentation.

FOP president provides further information on an incident that troubled Gadfly

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: The FOP president defends his officer (June 19, 2020)
ref: FOP president to Council: “If you want to work together to make our community even stronger, we’re here to work with you” (June 22, 2020)

Mr. Gallagher:

I wasn’t aware of your questions until recently, but for the sake of those who may have questions about this incident in the future, I’ll try my best to answer them. The defendant was interviewed by our Professional Standards Division (Internal Affairs). In an official video-recorded statement to the investigators, the defendant made numerous criminal allegations regarding the involved officer. These statements were contradicted by both in-car and body worn cameras. The defendant’s interview and both videos from the incident were shown to members of City Council. Councilwoman Negron and Van Wirt did not watch the presentation shown by now Chief Kott. I reached out to Negron and Van Wirt and requested they approach the Police admin to watch the videos.  Dr. Van Wirt never responded to my emails, and several months later I ran into Councilwoman Negron who informed me she never approached the Police admin to view the footage and she did not intend to. The search was a consent search which was legal and on video. The officer did park the defendant’s vehicle and provided him with a ride home after he was fingerprinted. The FOP does not control when or if videos are released to the public. We believe if this video was released, it would have immediately ended any concern as I believe it was handled so well it could be used as a training aid on how to be professional during a traffic stop. Also, just to clarify, New St. is about 10 blocks from where the officer was parked monitoring the intersection. The defendant didn’t “detour a bit” 10 blocks.  I’d be happy to answer any other questions in the future.

Officer William Audelo
Bethlehem Police Department

Tip o’ the hat to Officer Audelo for providing further information on this episode that, as followers might remember, troubled Gadfly.

The Bethlehem Press interview with Chief Kott

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

In this interview with the Bethlehem Press, Gadfly is especially interested in Chief Kott’s mention of collaboration with the Health Bureau. He also notes her mention of membership on the Community Advisory Board and a LGBTQ subcommittee of a community engagement board. Gadfly knows about the CAB, formed early by/with the NAACP after GeorgeFloyd. But what is the community engagement board? Is that something out of the Reynolds/Crampsie Smith resolution for a Community Engagement Initiative? Gadfly has heard nothing about the CEI for a long time. And there never has been, as far as he knows, any public information about what the CAB is doing. So we have no information upon which to judge these initiatives. And he thinks we would like to hear substantially more.

The Chief’s idea of a public information officer is interesting.

This is a good time for the periodic Gadfly reminder to subscribe to the Bethlehem Press so that we can continue to have and even expand community news.


selections from “Nate Jastrzemski, “‘It can’t just be one person at the top’ Police chief details department’s projects, upcoming goals.” Bethlehem Press, February 9, 2021.

In regard to policing the city, 2020 has been an extremely weird year,” said Bethlehem Police Chief Michelle Kott during her first interview with the Press since taking command in October. “It’s been odd because not as many people have been out. Obviously we didn’t have Musikfest, Celticfest, all the other festivals and events that we have in the city that bring hundreds of thousands of people a year.

“Our officers are not having as many citizen contacts as we normally would … however, for 2020 we responded to 225-250 medical calls involving COVID-positive patients”

Kott emphasized, as she did during her nomination and confirmation, that community engagement is imperative for the department to build and maintain a trusting relationship with the public. Whether face-to-face, Zoom or other virtual platforms, police are reaching out as often and safely as possible.

Additionally, the department is collaborating with the Health Bureau to help residents that officers come into contact with to get in touch with resources and services that could potentially prevent future police contact or help them navigate an issue they are facing, whether food insecurity, homelessness, mental health issues or substance abuse. Kott would like to expand this relationship long-term, as it helps everyone involved.

Social work is particularly important now, Kott said, as we grapple with the ramifications of prolonged quarantine. “I think this is going to require communities to come together and put people in touch with services to help them get through this hard time.”

As for the department, Kott was upbeat. “I’m very, very pleased and happy with the teamwork and the collaborative efforts … all the way down to the officers, to work together to provide the best level of service to the community,” she said, adding a key component to the cohesion she seeks is working with supervisors regularly, rather than delegating from on high.

That is partially because she worries about losing institutional memory due to longtime officer retirements. Young officers have a lot of enthusiasm, Kott said, but it’s hard to make up for a loss of decades of experience. Thus, she is focusing on recruitment and mentorships and how they might also benefit through broadened community relations.

“We need to get information out to the citizens so they’re better informed about what’s going on in their communities and I think a valuable way to do that is to have a central contact, like a public information officer.”

Kott also participates in the Mayor’s Advisory Board and NAACP monthly meetings to address various forms of systemic racism through police reform, education and healthcare and on a community engagement board, serving on the LGBTQ subcommittee.

Kott also participates in the Mayor’s Advisory Board and NAACP monthly meetings to address various forms of systemic racism through police reform, education and healthcare and on a community engagement board, serving on the LGBTQ subcommittee.

Lack of a modern public facility notwithstanding, Kott succinctly summarized her holistic approach to policing and community, evident throughout the interview, by declaring with purpose and certainty, “Everybody wins if we work together.”

Giving gadflying a bad name

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

This is the kind of stuff that gives gadflying a bad name.

Somebody needs to connect the dots between the newspaper story and the LVGNA post for me.


Peter Hall, “Bethlehem police: Man tried to gouge officer’s eye during arrest.” December 28, 2020.

An Easton man is charged with aggravated assault after allegedly trying to gouge the eye of a Bethlehem police officer who was investigating package thefts Saturday.

Rashan Y. Bellamy, 39, of the 900 block of Butler Street was sent to Lehigh County Jail under $50,000 bail, according to court documents. In addition to a felony charge of aggravated assault of a police officer, Bellamy is charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and driving an unregistered vehicle.

According to a police affidavit:

Officer Matthew Steidel and another Bethlehem officer were watching a car that was identified as the vehicle used in multiple package thefts. The officers discovered that the temporary registration tag on the car was assigned to another vehicle and had expired in September.

When the officers saw Bellamy get into the car and pull out of a parking space without using a turn signal, they tried to make a traffic stop, but Bellamy eluded them.

Steidel radioed that he found the car in the 600 block of Fifth Avenue and officer Trevor Tomaszewski responded to that location. When Tomaszewski arrived, he saw Steidel struggling to take Bellamy into custody. Tomaszewski helped Steidel handcuff Bellamy, who continued to resist until he was placed in a police car.

Steidel said Bellamy pushed him against the police car, hit him and pressed his finger on Steidel’s eye.


Do you have implicit bias? Take the test!

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Implicit bias training for Bethlehem police

Gadfly has reported that 6 of our officers, including the Chief, are in a pilot implicit bias training program.

“The pilot program is broken down into three sessions. Each session provides officers with information regarding implicit bias through PowerPoints, videos and tests.”

In one of the sessions the officers took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test.

You can take it too.

Gadfly did.

It only takes a few minutes.

Go to Harvard Implicit Bias Test.

Gadfly was surprised at his result.

The question of “community police”

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Police chaperone fee  . . . is questioned


BPD used to have a semi-separate “community policing” group, although I don’t know the organizational [structure]. Then, quite a few years ago now, that was abolished, and we were told that the entire department would be using a community policing approach.

Two former police officers have told me that when that change was made, community policing was, in effect, eliminated from the department.  One of them said there was always an antagonism against the community policing officers, that they were not seen as “real police.” Maybe the problem was the culture, not the structure.

Perhaps the new Chief will find more effective ways to restore true community policing.

Peter Crownfield



True community policing has happened in 2 forms. The key is the level of integration into the neighborhoods.

The first was the team policing of Adam, Baker and Charlie teams who were assigned to one-third (roughly) of the city each. This way they became quite familiar with those areas and residents became familiar with them. The level of cooperation was strong because these relationships were established.

The second was the neighborhood substation/bike patrols who also became integrated into the neighborhoods that they served.

I remember one commenter at a council meeting saying we don’t need more pizza parties.

They are wrong in my opinion if we use “pizza parties” as a metaphor for socialization, because that helps to break down barriers.

It’s not the sole answer, but it’s a large part of the equation.

In Bethlehem, when bonds and identification and buy-in were best, it was because officers and residents worked together, met on the streets and sidewalks during the normal course of a day, gathered at the local playground, cooperated on a break-in spree, etc.

Each side needs to feel respected, and strengthening relationships via community policing efforts goes a long way to breaking down barriers.


Chief Kott’s memo on fostering police-community relations

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Chief Kott outlines plan to engage our community

Here’s the actual Kott memo that I didn’t have when posting on Friday. Add this to the info on implicit bias training that I didn’t have when I posted on Friday, and it looks like Chief Kott has been busy.



Police chaperone fee when alcohol is served is questioned

Latest in a series of posts on City Government

Another issue involving the police, marginally, was also raised at the December 15 City Council meeting.

A City policy requiring a police officer present at events on City property at which alcohol is served is apparently under review.

The cost is $50/hr. for an officer to be present.

The crux of the issue is the financial impact on non-profits.

Mary Toulouse spoke against the policy on behalf of the Mt. Airy Neighborhood Association/Rose Garden Farmers Market, and Jp Jordan and Christopher Schorr spoke against the policy on behalf of Touchstone Theatre.

For Ms. Toulouse, the issue was a vendor (and a Bethlehem merchant at that) at the Farmers Market selling alcohol for home consumption, not at the market. The cost for a policeman would have been $200 per Saturday for 20 weeks . Ms. Toulouse ultimately argued successfully with the City for an exemption this year, but it sounded like she might have to argue similarly next year, and, in any event, she felt “threatened” by the police in her interaction over the fee. Ms. Toulouse spoke against the policy both for herself and other groups in similar situations.

The issue for Touchstone was selling alcohol at events for consumption there. Mr. Jordan described the different situation elsewhere in cities at which the theater troupe performed and suggested it might be a “cultural issue” here in Bethlehem (close to being a sin tax). Mr. Schorr argued the difference between a large entrepreneur who sold alcohol at events to make money, and to whom hiring a policeman was an acceptable cost of doing business, and the cost to a non-profit simply trying to make expenses and for whom a policeman might account for 50% of the profits. Au contraire, said Mr. Schorr, the City should be trying to “incentivize” the non-profits.

Neither the reason for the policy nor its duration (a remnant of Pa. blue laws?) was given, so it’s hard for Gadfly to judge the merits of the policy, but Gadfly can tell you the three residents made good sense.

One more thing, though, that intersects with wider police discussions.

Ms. Toulouse remembered a time of community policing that West Side neighbors still remember positively and fondly — nostalgia for a neighborhood beat officer they all knew and — speaking to the issue at hand — one who could visit the Farmers Market in the due course of his or her beat work. Councilwoman Negron gave this idea legs as well.

Gadfly has heard others  — he thinks especially of resident Lisa Rosa — who speak fondly of this past successful version of community policing and urge its return. Such comments always confuse Gadfly since the department describes itself as already doing “community policing” on the City web site: “The Bethlehem Police Department is structured using the community policing philosophy and is committed to community and police partnership. The department structure has three divisions: Patrol, Criminal Investigations and Professional Standards.”

There’s confusion somewhere.

There must be different definitions of community policing.

Gadfly’s thinking on this subject is no doubt influenced by his Norman Rockwell image of the idyllic small town with its friendly police, but he must admit that he would like to see this form of community policing discussed in the promised meetings early in the new year.

Mary Toulouse (8 mins.):

Jp Jordan (5 mins.):

Christopher Schorr (5 mins.):

Do you know what Bethlehem police’s implicit bias training is?

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Implicit bias training for Bethlehem police
ref: A vision of Bethlehem as anti-racist city
ref: Bethlehem: The Anti-Racist City
ref: New branding campaign takes off

Maybe you missed it.

It was easy to gloss over.

But the pilot program of implicit bias training for officers in the police department we posted about Friday is a self-described anti-racist act.

We know the difference between “not racist” and “anti-racist.”

Being not racist is passive, refusing to support or participate in racist ideas, action, attitudes, systems, behavior, belief, policies, procedures.

Many of us are “not racist.”

Being anti-racist is active, doing something to fight racist ideas, action, attitudes, systems, behavior, belief, policies, procedures.

Only a few of us are “anti-racist.”

Chief Kott recognizes the difference: “It would be incredibly naive and irresponsible of us to say that there is no such thing as a racist cop. . . . It’s one thing to say that I’m not racist, I’m not prejudiced. But it is a completely different thing to be anti-racist. . . . That [being anti-racist] is the driving force behind this [pilot implicit bias] training.”

Chief Kott has chosen anti-racism for herself and her department.

Gadfly would like to know the backstory, but he assumes this pilot program was her unforced idea, and she reports that she herself underwent the training.

How’s that for leadership.

So good.

Gadfly has been excited by the attack on systemic racism explicit in the Community Engagement initiative, and ever-so-tongue-in-cheek he has envisioned an additional brand for Bethlehem as “The Anti-Racist City.”

One step at a time.

He hopes anti-racism and systemic racism will be issues in the now fast upcoming mayoral and councilmanic campaigns.

Implicit Bias training for Bethlehem Police

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

Gadfly is rather astounded that he is just finding out this news (like, literally, 20 minutes ago), and from the Brown and White.

Gadfly tries to be alert to what’s going on, but he does not believe that he previously heard about this program in all the buzz about the police department lately, a program which is said to have begun in the summer.

Before or after the retirement of Chief DiLuzio?

This is a good thing!

Selections from Miguel Cole, “Implicit bias training begins in the Bethlehem police Department.” (Lehigh University) Brown and White, December 17, 2020.

The Bethlehem Police Department has been working closely with the Pennsylvania Youth and Disproportionate Minority Contact and Law Enforcement Corporation to develop an implicit bias training program for the department.

There is currently a pilot program in place that six of the city’s officers have participated in. The program is still in its early stages as the two entities continue to iron out the details.

Bethlehem Police Chief Michelle Kott has spoken about what is involved in the pilot program, its importance to the department and what they expect to get out of this partnership.

Kott hopes to have the program available to all officers by either the first or second quarter of 2021. The pilot program is broken down into three sessions. Each session provides officers with information regarding implicit bias through PowerPoints, videos and tests. Kott said she would like to add a pre- and post-survey to the program to see what strides have been made.

“As you go through the course, you start to realize that this is something that no one is immune from,” Kott said, who took over as the city’s police chief following former Police Chief Mark DiLuzio’s resignation earlier this year.

Implicit bias refers to the subconscious attitudes and predetermined concepts an individual has regarding another social group. These biases are influenced by personal experiences and the context in which people live.

Virtually no one is free from implicit bias.

“All cognition is influenced by past experience, goals, culture. Even perceptual experience can be different in people raised in different cultures,” said Gordon Moskowitz, professor of psychology at Lehigh University.

Kott and Capt. Rodney Bronson, both of whom participated in the pilot program, took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test as a part of one of the seminars.

Through this test, both Kott and Bronson realized they had their own implicit biases.

“Your upbringing, your cultural conditioning, carries you through your entire life. It fills those biases that you might have and don’t even know because they’re in your blind spot,” Bronson said.

The training has had its challenges and barriers as they attempt to piece together what works best.

Because of COVID-19, the training program has been virtually constructed. However, both Kott and Bronson have expressed the desire to have this be an in-person program.

The implementation of this program is geared to help officers recognize their implicit biases in hopes to correct and improve community interactions.

The department got the ball rolling on this program this summer after the murder of George Floyd.

“It would be incredibly naive and irresponsible of us to say that there is no such thing as a racist cop,” Kott said.

In the past few months, there has been a lot of conversation about what it means to be anti-racist. To be anti-racist is to take the extra step and be actively against racism while promoting racial tolerance.

“It’s one thing to say that I’m not racist, I’m not prejudiced. But it is a completely different thing to be anti-racist,” Kott said. “That is the driving force behind this training; trying to make people aware of what is unconsciously going on in our heads so that we are able to have better interactions with the community that we serve.”

These biases can show themselves in many police-community interactions, from arrests to traffic stops to suspicion to stop and frisk. But recognizing implicit bias has surfaced as an important part of Bethlehem’s police-community interactions.

“Just as with all other training, it is something that has to be done periodically. It can’t just be a once and done course,” Kott said. “This is a practice that, as chief, I want to be a norm.”

Officer Audelo provides perspective

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

Turns out that police and policing were in good view during the December 15 City Council meeting (look for another post involving the police after this one!).

Officer Audelo, president of the local FOP, called in with these comments (7 mins.):

  • bad air quality in the police station, a test would be sure to show “positive toxic mold”
  • a movie needing a 70s look was just done in their cell block — outdated infrastructure
  • think better starting salaries to attract the best new hires, ours are lower than Allentown and other surrounding communities
  • when thinking about the cost of pensions at budget time, realize that officers do not take social security and pensions for new officers were cut not too long ago
  • “experts” like Lehigh profs Ochs and Mikell are “embarrassing,” for instance in statements like force should never be used on juveniles (gives personal experience as example)
  • force beyond taking a person to the ground was used only 38 times out of 62,000 calls last year
  • the department always could be better
  • minorities don’t want whites speaking for them
  • people not encouraging love and who are just shouting not speaking, they are on the wrong side
  • police stand with the small business community

Officer Audelo’s call was immediately followed by one by Greg Ragni, whom we now recognize as co-head of the Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance.

Mr. Ragni complimented the officer (It’s nice to hear “what a true expert on policing sounds like” “it’s nice to hear someone speak facts”) and, in the conversations about policing we have been having, he called for “true experts versus political hacks with an ideological ax to grind.” We should be talking about what policing is like “in Bethlehem,” not Seattle or elsewhere, he said (2 mins.).

Officer Audello remarked that he had encouraged Council to watch a particular body cam video but that no one had. Gadfly would like to do that. His understanding is that body cams are not obtainable via Right-to-Know, but he will try.

Chief Kott outlines plan to engage our community

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: Councilman Reynolds requests a Community Engagement Plan outline from the City

In a November 30 memo Councilman Reynolds prompted Chief Kott to put some thoughts to paper regarding police interaction with the community.

The Chief did that at the City Council meeting December 15.

And did so generously.

Councilman Reynolds was pleased.

Gadfly will try to get a copy of Chief Kott’s detailed reply to Councilman Reynolds, but for now you can listen to her reading it (4 mins.), and Gadfly will share a few highlights below.

  • General outline of the police department’s plan to engage our community.
  • During these divisive times, community-police engagement opportunities can genuinely and organically build understanding, trust, confidence, and respect between police agencies and the communities they serve.
  • . . . seek to remove barriers . . . embrace diversity, and encourage two-way communication . . . strive to identify the community’s public safety priorities, build trust, increase understanding, improve satisfaction, and initiate a collaborative effort with community stakeholders for addressing community issues and concerns.

Here are some of the “measurable actions” to be implemented. Listen to the audio for more detail on each.

  • various surveys
  • Your Neighborhood/Your Police Department events
  • community walks
  • community-police forums
  • re-introduce Citizen and Junior Police Academies
  • expand partnerships with other City departments
  • partner with stakeholder organizations . . . listening sessions, focus groups
  • increase social media presence

The Chief’s comments were followed up by supportive comments by Councilpeople Reynolds, Negron, and Crampsie Smith. Councilwoman Negron highlighted for Chief Kott suggestions by earlier resident callers Toulouse and Schor that we will cover in a subsequent post. Councilwoman Crampsie Smith hoped for future collaboration with services provided by the County (so as not to duplicate) and she highlighted increases in autism that need to be addressed.

It is evident that relations between Chief Kott and Council are off to a good start.

“We have the information and the ability to do better”

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

speaking of statistics

ref: What’s missing in LVGNA’s march to victory?

Much appreciate the work Gadfly; the need for this conversation is pretty apparent if one does believe that there are over 1000 neighbors “supporting” the fear mongering being driven by the so-called good Neighbors Assoc.

To stick to facts over 50% of Americans believe that policing needs a major over all while only 6% believe no improvements are needed.

Gallup usually gets this stuff fairly close to right I think we would all agree (

But more than that; there are concrete examples actually happening all across the country.

Chesa Boudin in San Francisco and now the newly elected LA prosecutor George Gascon (; revolutionizing the way we see policing, eradicating cash bail, re-evaluating 3 strikes cases and the ceasing of charging juveniles as adults.

All of these structural changes are supported by data; not rhetoric, not feelings nor a desire to cling to days gone by.

The only excuse Bethlehem has to not follow the ingenuity of those leading the way is fear.  Not good enough. We have the information and the ability to do better.

Michele Downing

Residents chatter about Gadfly around Gadfly’s water cooler

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

ref: What’s missing in LVGNA’s march to victory? et al

  • Gadfly’s assault on LVGNA shows immense bias on his part.
  • And a lack of common sense: Tuesday was precisely the right night to call in, the time to influence council before they offered amendments.
  • And some naivete: just because 2 council members may have said 2 weeks before that they would not defund the police doesn’t mean that they would not have 4 votes to do so.
  • Hey, Waldron pulled a tricky maneuver, diffusing call-ins by announcing at the beginning that there were no amendments.
  • I think he [Gadfly] has been sucker-punched by the BLM agenda to destroy America. A majority of those scary July 7th speakers subscribe to that BLM agenda.
  • Yeah, and that husband and wife that keep calling in are avowed Marxists.
  • I thought so.
  • Marxism is totally unacceptable.
  • I think Gadfly is basically a good guy, I just don’t see how he goes along with mantras like “What do we want — Dead cops” or “Pigs in a blanket.”
  • There’s a lot of ignorance: police do not kill black criminals at a higher rate than whites, and no one is talking about black on black crime which kills 90% of blacks—they focus on a limited number of blacks killed by police instead of addressing the inner city drug culture & fatherless households & crime.
  • Don’t forget that Blacks themselves don’t want a reduced police presence in their neighborhoods by an 80% poll preference.
  • So the Neighbors have every right to be concerned.
  • No question the George Floyd thing was awful but that occurs to white & Hispanics as well and particularly when they resist arrest or are juiced up on drugs like Floyd was.
  • The Neighbors were civil, how about the guy from Broad St that screamed at the top of his lungs, he . . .

Councilwoman Negron: stop the lies!

Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police

We come to an end of Gadfly’s coverage of the December 1 City Council meeting. You have heard lots of voices. Gadfly loves these voices. Both our elected officials and our ardent residents.

Most recently we have been listening to Council voices. You can really learn something about these people by hearing their voices, no?

And I hope you can recognize them by their voices.

When Gadfly started Gadfly he used to put pictures of the Council members up and ask you to identify them. He did that because he quickly learned that there were a decent number of followers who couldn’t name the Council members and, of course, couldn’t “recognize” them either.

Gadfly wants you to know them, know them well, especially if they are on the ballot next time ’round.

But, he wonders, could you recognize their voices if he put up some audio clips without identification?

Maybe will do that. Would be an interesting exercise.

But we’ll end this thread of posts with one voice you can’t miss.

Councilwoman Negron.

And she’s on fire here!

Listen —

7 mins.

  • I’m very upset right now.
  • [Thanks Councilpeople Reynolds and Crampsie Smith]
  • Thank you for calling the group that is spreading fear, especially among the elderly . . . they are scared.
  • They are spreading lies, lies.
  • This is not fair.
  • As a woman of color that has been hurting about everything happening in our nation . . .
  • [Recounts her work history and experience with the police]
  • That’s what I did for frickin’ fve years!
  • I know we can do better, I know how to do it better.
  • So it is appalling to me . . . that somebody would just come up and say this is what they are doing.
  • It is wrong.
  • Stop the lies.
  • I am really happy we have a brand new Chief of Police, I am very proud of her.
  • And I know that under her leadership, we are going to do a whole lot better.
  • The role that we have as members of Council . . .
  • You want to fire me, go ahead, I don’t pay for my rice and beans for the $185 I get from City Council.
  • Stop threatening for something that has no value.
  • You wake up and smell the coffee.
  • It is wrong.
  • Something that you need to understand is [both City and Council have roles and services they need to provide] we can not just eliminate public safety and police and hire 50 case workers.
  • It doesn’t work that way.
  • We are not in the case worker business.
  • [Police and Health Bureau working together]
  • [Working with Pinebrook]
  • [Northampton County and Lehigh County have great crisis programs]
  • We need to do a better job sharing this information with our community.
  • We have a great service [at the county level], we don’t have to reinvent the wheel for something the city is not meant to do.
  • That is what the county Human services do.
  • [Mental health and drug court]
  • They get treatment according to their need.
  • I am really appalled that some individuals took it upon themselves . . . to scare half of the city.
  • That has to stop.