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Training Needed On W-B Police Records System

September 26, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — City police Commander Joe Coffay said a grant to obtain a new records management system is welcome news, but he couldn’t estimate when the system would go into use. “We have to train with it first before it is implemented,” Coffay said in an email late last week. He did not respond prior to the publication of a story on the grant earlier last week because he had been busy with a homicide investigation, he said. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency earlier this month awarded a grant in the amount of $149,734 to the city police department to cover the costs of a new records management system used by 46 other law enforcement agencies in the county, Kirsten Kenyon, director of the commission’s Office of Research and Child Advocacy, had told The Citizens’ Voice last week. The system will allow the near real-time sharing of investigative information between those police agencies. Coffay said he was 99 percent sure the city would receive the grant, but he wouldn’t know until Oct. 1 because he had to add information to the grant application last Thursday. “Any award … to improve the working conditions is great and very welcome, especially if it is through a grant and does not take away from our budget,” Coffay said. Coffay said the current records management system is “a decent system … better than what we had prior, but it was not user friendly and had some issues.” He said the company “was working with us to straighten them out, up until a certain point in time,” but he said he couldn’t comment on the reason that effort came to a stop. “I would not want to turn a positive situation into something negative since we are trying to stabilize the department and move on in a positive direction,” Coffay said. Marcella Lendacky, who retired as police chief in June, had applied for the grant for the new system. Lendacky announced her retirement in April on the same day a departmental assessment by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association was released. The report was mostly critical of Lendacky and then-commander Ron Foy, and positive toward Coffay. It described tremendous conflict between the police union and Lendacky and Foy and made 30 recommendations for improvements in the department. — STEVE MOCARSKY

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