South Abington Twp. Police Chief Gerrity responds to residents’ concerns regarding speeding, quads in Ransom Twp.

By Elizabeth Baumeister - | August 4th, 2015 1:37 pm

RANSOM TWP. — South Abington Township Chief of Police Robert Gerrity attended the Aug. 3 Ransom Township Board of Supervisors meeting to address recent concerns regarding speeding and to give the police report.

At last month’s meeting, several residents complained to officer Anthony Percival about speeders and quads travelling on various roads in the township. Gerrity told the board and audience he wanted them to know their voices did not go unheard and they are welcome to contact the department any time, not just once a month at the meetings.

“When there’s a complaint, you don’t have to wait until there’s a township meeting to complain,” he said. “Some people call, but some people don’t. If you call us directly, we will respond to your complaint.”

The South Abington Township Police department can be reached by calling 570-586-2111. Emergency calls should always be made by dialing 9-1-1.

The chief addressed the issue of speeding quads on the roadways, saying the department will pursue an investigation in the matter, but it will not actively pursue a physical chase with the vehicles.

“Because, A, what are you doing?” he said. “You’re endangering the police officer. You’re endangering the person on the quad. A lot of times, it’s a juvenile on the quad. …You have to use good judgment in these situations. It’s not that we don’t take it seriously.”

He added the department will do everything it can to identify the individuals on the quads and pursue prosecution.

Regarding the speeding complaints, Gerrity said the department is doing what it can to attack the problem, and he asked for the residents’ patience in the process.

“Speeding is the number one complaint received by municipal police chiefs,” he said. “It’s also the hardest one to address. And I’m not down-playing it.”

He said Pennsylvania is the only state in which municipal police departments are not allowed to use radar, which makes their job more difficult. The department is, however, doing its best to address the problem, and ticketed three drivers in the township just that morning.

He also reminded the audience the South Abington Township Police Department is not the primary law enforcement agency in Ransom Township. Rather, that responsibility rests on the state police.

Gerrity’s police report for the month of July included four incidents:

• A woman called, stating she thought she might have been poisoned by a resident of the township.

“She got honey from a person in the township and became ill after eating it,” Gerrity said. “So, she believed there was poison, and I suggested she may be allergic to raw honey.”

• A 34-year-old man from Moosic was arrested on Dark Regions Road on July 26 for narcotics possession.

• A call was received on July 27 for a neighbor dispute in the Sunset Mobile Home Park. The incident ended with the arrest of the caller for disorderly conduct.

• An identity theft investigation was opened and is still ongoing.

In other business, Heather Kwolek, an incoming junior at Abington Heights High School, spoke briefly to the board about an upcoming roadside clean-up project she is planning.

“We’re required to do a project in order to graduate,” she said. “And for mine, I want to clean up the trash alongside the roads, from Creek Road, up to Ransom, and Bald Mountain Road in between, and extend it to Red Oak Drive.”

Supervisor and Road Master David Bird asked if she has volunteers to help out, and she said she plans to make flyers to hang up around town to help recruit people. She will also ask for help from her fellow students. Bird instructed her to let the township know when she plans to hold the cleanup, so the road crew can put out signs for safety and then pick up the bags of trash afterwards.

Supervisor and Chairman Dennis Macheska said the township will also provide garbage bags, gloves and safety vests.

The exact date of the cleanup is yet to be announced, but Kwolek said she hopes to schedule it for the second week of September.

Rich Conte, of Ransom Holdings and Taylor Topsoil, attended to address rumors and concerns regarding the business’ property bordering Ransom Township and Taylor Borough, first brought up in the township’s June 1 meeting. He assured the board that all of the work currently underway is on the Taylor side of the property, not Ransom. He said should the business decide to use the Ransom side, he will contact the township for any required permits.

The board voted to approve an engineering cost quote of roughly $1,500 for the new MS4 Chesapeake Bay Water Reduction Plan.

Bird said the plan is something the township is required to do and is behind on.

“We have to go out and on every road, we have to check the height of our catch basins, how many catch basins are on each road, outlet pipes, so this all has to be documented, mapped out — the engineer will to that for us — but this is all part of our responsibility for stormwater.”

The board also briefly discussed a PIRMA quote for township liability insurance. Macheska said the total is $17,876, a $738 savings in comparison with 2014 costs. The board voted to accept the offer.

The next regular township meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8 at the municipal building on Hickory Lane.

By Elizabeth Baumeister

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal