Clarks Summit‚??s new chief of police might be described as an optimist.
Joe Laguzzi, 41, of Clifford Twp. learned during his 20 years with the City of Carbondale Police Department that although negative situations arise on the job, it‚??s important for an officer not to let them affect him or her.
‚??You see a lot of bad things,‚?Ě he said referring to run-ins with drugs, domestic issues and child abuse cases, ‚??and you don‚??t want to really harp on them. Those are things you have to deal with, being a police officer, but then you want to move on and look for the positive things in people.‚?Ě
He said he‚??s always been community-oriented, and enjoys getting involved in activities such as crime watches and the ‚??D.A.R.E.‚?Ě anti-drug abuse programs in schools.
‚??I believe in being proactive,‚?Ě he explained, ‚??getting out there and doing some positive things to keep people maybe from making a bad choice or making a bad decision.‚?Ě
Laguzzi said one of his goals as police chief in Clarks Summit is to employ an ‚??open door policy‚?Ě with members of the community, both businesses and individual residents. His desire: to be visible and available to the public. He would like people to feel they are welcome to come to him with issues, problems and concerns to sit down and come up with solutions.
Another of his goals for the near future, he said, is to have ranking officers in the department. Currently, other than chief, the department has only the rank of patrolman. He explained that his experience has been in a department with a very structured system of ranks and would like to see that implemented to a smaller extent in Clarks Summit.
‚?? The main goal with that is that it gives the officers a little bit of a goal to reach for,‚?Ě Laguzzi said. The chief cannot be there all the time, he added, and although he is only a phone call away, the officers need to know they are able to make good judgment calls and some command decisions.
The new chief said of the Clarks Summit department, ‚??It‚??s a good police department. The officers that are here have been here for awhile. They‚??re well adapted to the community.‚?Ě
One of the most important lessons learned during his 20 years experience, Laguzzi said, is ‚??to be open-minded. To kind of look at issues and look at problems straight on‚?Ľthere always seems to be more than one answer, and more than one solution to solving things.‚?Ě
He looks forward to working alongside other local police departments and officers, many of whom he already knows from his 12 years on the county SWAT team.
‚??We need to be there for them,‚?Ě he said, ‚??and they need to be there for us.‚?Ě
Meet the chief
Joe Laguzzi, who comes from a family of law enforcement officers, said police work was always what he wanted to do.
He is currently in the process of retiring from his position as a Sergeant in the City of Carbondale, and was sworn in as Clarks Summit Chief of Police Jan. 2.
He resides in Clifford Twp with his wife Amy, who teaches first grade in the Carbondale Area School District and their two-year-old daughter Mia.
Age: 41 Education: Graduated from Sacred Heart High School and earned a degree in criminal justice from The University of Scranton.
Interests and hobbies: Fishing, hunting, the outdoors, Pittsburgh Steelers and spending time with family.
Inspired by: Hard work. ‚??Anyone who does a lot of positive things and works hard. I‚??ve been fortunate and surrounded in my career by a lot of those people.‚?Ě
Favorite place in the world: Disney World, in Florida, especially Epcot Center.
Greatest achievement: ‚??My daughter is my greatest achievement. She pretty much encompasses a lot of my life right now and everything is geared around her‚??spending time with her and just enjoying her.‚?Ě