Joanne, a city resident, spoke to the Independent Gazette recently, requesting that her surname be omitted for professional reasons, and stating that she responded to a pounding on her front door on the afternoon of June 19, 2013, to find a Wilkes-Barre City Parking Enforcement officer who would only identify himself as Nick, Badge Number 3168. Joanne said Nick was dispatched to her home to instruct her to stop calling 911 to report that her neighbors were illegally parked when clearly they were not—as determined by the parking enforcement public servant. The Independent Gazette has identified “Nick” as Parking Enforcement Officer Nicholas Cave.
Joanne informed Cave that she was not the one calling, and requested the officer have 911 trace the call(s) to prove she was not the caller, to which Cave replied, “They don’t have that capability.”
When Joanne persisted in her claim that she did not dial 911 that particular instance to report the alleged parking violation Cave responded with, “I used to work for the Children’s Service Center—I know guilty behavior when I see it.” Joanne said to the Gazette, “I told the officer I was going to call the media if he continued to harass me, to which the officer said, ‘Who are you calling, Mr. Sorick?’” Joanne claimed the officer also told her that he had heard through the grapevine that she was going to “sick” the Independent Gazette on him.
Calls to Nick Cave, at Wilkes-Barre City Parking Enforcement, seeking comment were not returned.
Joanne told the Gazette that this parking dispute has been escalating for a while now, and that she’s tried repeatedly to defuse the situation by calling the city police non-emergency number and asking the desk sergeant to call the vehicle owner and notify him that she is not the one complaining, but confided, “I knew that wouldn’t work when the desk sergeant said, ‘But we believe it is you [who has been calling].’”
Liza Prokop, Community Relations Coordinator, and the new city spokesperson refused to answer our questions, stating flatly, “I will not respond to inquiries made by the Independent Gazette.”
City Administrator Marie McCormick, however, did respond to the Independent Gazette. McCormick called Police Chief Gerard Dessoye, who McCormick said would “look into the situation.”
In her most recent attempt to rectify the situation, Joanne dialed 911 and asked to speak with a supervisor, hoping to learn whether or not the Luzerne County 911 Center can indeed determine who is making the calls or if the center can at least inform city police that she is not the only one making them by tracking her number. That approach by Joanne was also fruitless, as the 911 supervisor was extremely short with her, and referred the call back to city police, advising, “If you want your call log you will need to subpoena it.”
Interim 911 Executive Director Fred Rosencrans wrote in an email response to our investigation, “I will look into this, but call logs will require a Right-to-Know request to be filed.”
Joanne told the Independent Gazette that she does indeed plan to file a Right-to-Know for her call records, if that is her best chance of obtaining them.