Police chief: Gas drilling causing increase in crime locally
BY JAMES LOEWENSTEIN
TOWANDA - Gas drilling activity is resulting in an increase in crime in the borough, the borough police chief said on Monday.
The issue came up at Monday's Towanda Borough Council meeting, when borough council member Bob McLinko asked Police Chief Mitch Osman whether the "extracurricular activity in the borough, along with population increase, has resulted in problems."
By extracurricular activity, McLinko was apparently referring to drinking at the bars in Towanda.
Osman replied that police calls have gone up as workers in the gas drilling industry have moved into the county, "especially the severity of the calls."
In the past, you could probably predict which nights would be quiet in town, the police chief said.
"We can't do that any more," he said. "It's definitely busy."
Council members said they would be in favor of using federal grant money to hire an additional police officer.
Osman said with a laugh that he could use two additional police officers.
The borough had recently applied for a federal grant to hire an additional full-time police officer, but was not awarded the grant. The grant was to have been funded with federal economic stimulus money.
The borough will be automatically considered when the next round of grants for police officers is awarded by the federal agency, Osman said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: email@example.com.