TJ Evanko’s March 26th address before city council concerning police nonresponsiveness
Disclaimer: Letters to the Editor express the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of WBIG ownership, management or staff.
Hello, my name is Theodore James Evanko and I am [a] property owner [on] South Empire Street in Wilkes-Barre. I am here tonight to inform you about situations that have been happening in the city. I do not believe that you can fix a problem unless you know about it. I am here to inform you about what is going on so you can fix the problem.
I never needed a gun before, but I will not let someone take my life for drug money.
Over the past two years I have had people stealing from my property. I have taken measures to prevent them [from] stealing. I have had the police only respond to two of the past six times I have called for help. The first two times were to report theft and no officer called or showed up. The next time I called for help, I watched the person steal. I did not confront them because I tried to let the police do their job. I only received a one-ring call at 7:09 at night from 9:38 in the morning. The next time I called for help, I confronted the two people stealing and they told me that they would beat me or sue me if I tried to stop them. I received no help after calling 911. I waited for police and then called the station looking for help. After going to headquarters to inquire about the non-response of the police, I was told that my situation was not that important and officers were on more serious cases. I wondered why there was no follow-up. I could have been attacked and left for dead on my property. If you don’t think that is a possibility, just look at the news and I could give you prior examples from our own city.
This caused me to look into what laws protect me. I have found the Castle Doctrine, formerly House Bill 40. This gives me the right to defend myself, family and property. If you need, I have a couple of copies here. I then proceeded to buy a gun and obtain a concealed weapons permit. I never needed a gun before, but I will not let someone take my life for drug money.
On August 23rd, 2012, I called the police because I noticed items were missing from my property. I did have an officer show up a couple of hours later to write a report. That situation is not in question. On August 27th, 2012, I noticed a person inside my fenced-in area attempting to steal; I stopped them and 911 was called. The person was taken in custody. After that day I waited and did not hear anything from the officer. I left messages and no contact. I had to go through a different officer to obtain a report. I next tried to leave a message again for the officer [so I could learn] the court date. I received no response. I then talked face to face with the officer on December 31st, 2012. The officer told me that he remembers the case and when [Magistrate] Cronauer’s office contacts him, he will let me know. He said that he would call the magistrate and get back to me. He did not. I then called the magistrate’s office and they said that court dates would be sent out and the officer will do a follow-up call. Another month goes by and I make sure I get answers. The magistrate’s office tells me that the court date was on Nov 6th, 2012, and that the officer was present. I recently filed a complaint with the police department. In researching my options on what I can do, I have learned about the many complaints of the Wilkes-Barre Police from the Luzerne County DA’s office.
You want to raise my taxes? I expect police to do their job.
By the police not doing their job properly, I have lost thousands of dollars in replacement cost of materials. Also, I have to pay $125 for a permit to fix a fence, [in addition to] the cost of the replacement fence that your police department cost me in court. I am done paying for your mistakes.
I am not here to do anything but to inform you that I pay for taxes in the city. People are doing more for less and your police department is doing less for more. You want to raise my taxes? I expect police to do their job. If this happens again, I will be seeking [that] someone be removed from service, which includes all members of the working force of the city. I pay for you to do a job, you will do it or I will have you replaced by someone who will.
Lastly, people are arming themselves by the hundreds in the city and county. This should alarm you and the police that you are not doing your job in keeping us safe. No one in the city feels safe. When are you going to do what you were hired and put into office to do? I hope this helps you realize what is going on and [that] you now will be held responsible for your office and police officers’ performance. I will be willing to discuss any details of the events I have described and others privately or publicly. Thank you for your time.
I agree.People are being told their calls are not as important as others.
In the mean time it could escalate into a bigger problem.
I work and pay taxes and live on a busy street with numerous problems not being taken care of.
I wrote to the city.