I-Team: Laflin Borough Jenkins Township Police Controversy

LAFLIN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Allegations are being made about a backroom deal between some officials of two Luzerne County communities concerning police protection. The controversy involves Laflin Borough and Jenkins Township. Lead I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick is looking into the story

Those allegations are being made by two incoming members of the Laflin Borough council. They were recently elected to the council. They claim that the current council majority made a deal at a "midnight meeting" with Jenkins Township officials that would allow Jenkins Township Police to provide protection to the borough.

 "There are a lot of questions amongst ourselves because nobody was aware of it. " Said Paul Bendervich

Benderavich and Anthony D'Eliseo want answers about a police protection agreement they say was reached with outgoing Laflin Council members and Jenkins Township officials. In that agreement, Jenkins Township would provide police coverage for $65,000 a year..

Currently the state police provide that protection. But they insist that something shady is going on here.

"Midnight deals after the election litigation is on the table moving forward for us."  Said Benderavich.

They even sent this letter to officials from both communities saying they will not honor any such agreement when they take over as the new majority of council in January.

 "This is going to be undone on January second so why would you ever continue doing it." Added D’Eliseo

The current council majority is holding a public meeting next Thursday to talk about the police protection proposal. A proposal that Laflin Council member Lisa Natt says was made at an informal meeting with several Jenkins Township Officials.

Natt told the I-Team: "There was no midnight meeting. No backroom deal. Jenkins contacted us and made this proposal. No decision was made. It has to be presented to the public."

 "I think we need local police" said Ed Zebrowski.  The Zebrowski family was taking a walk Friday afternoon. They knew nothing about the controversy. But they did have strong opinions on police protection.

"I mean we have Pittston on one side,  Plains on the other side. We might as well put a banner up on Main Street that says hey we don't have cops come and rob us." Said Ed Zebrowski.

 "The entire community was devastated by the fact we eliminated our local police. We need a local police department." said Karen Zebrowski.

 The I-Team also spoke to Jenkins Township supervisor Bob Linskey .He also insisted that no midnight deal was made between the two communities and said this is all part of ongoing efforts to create a regional police department. The Laflin solicitor noted that the meeting did not violate any state sunshine laws.  A public meeting will be held next Thursday at 6 pm at the Laflin Borough building to discuss the issue.


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