FRACKVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A town that was once protected by five full-time officers, is now down to one.
After speaking with a former Frackville Police Officer and the wife of a former officer, they expressed that problems began just over a year ago. They explain that there was a toxic work environment that gave them no choice but to quit their jobs.
Eyewitness News reached out to the Chief of Police in Frackville for his comments, but he was not available to speak during this time. Former officers and community members alike fear for the safety of their town without a local police department.
“What this borough expected was, this was our life. They did not put into consideration that we have families at home. And we have been told, ‘this is your life. You chose this job. You chose this career. We didn’t,” said Devin Dollack, a former Frackville Police Officer.
Frackville’s Chief of Police is the only remaining officer after all of his colleagues quit. Former officers and their families say the work environment was no longer tolerable.
“Other officers including some that had already left specifically say that they were yelled at, cursed at, belittled. And the same kind of thing goes with my husband. He was the same way,” explained Heather Kankowski, the wife of a former Frackville officer.
“My mindset was, ‘OK, I can with the domestic today, how am I going to handle that?’ Now it was, what note is left on my desk? What did I do wrong today,” described Dellock.
As officers resigned, the town was left with uncertainty.
Members of the Frackville community have felt the effects of the lack of law enforcement and they fear for the future of their small town.
“For my elderly neighbors, I feel scared. For the gas stations in our town, there’s no police protection. They have to wait for the state police to get here, which could be who knows how long,” said Sue Frantz of Frackville.
One resident who lives feet away from Frackville PD had to wait 27 terrifying minutes for help when his house was broken into and he was faced with a loaded gun.
“The 911 operator told me Frackville was not on duty, the state would be responding, and that there was only one unit covering the whole county at that hour. It’s very concerning. I have elderly neighbors, if this would have happened to one of them, I don’t want to even speculate what would have happened,” explained Jason Kline of Frackville.
As concerns rise, the community has started a petition to remove the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Frackville in hopes to resolve these issues.
“It is sad that I’m a police officer here and when I’m not on shift, I fear for the safety of my own family because I don’t know how long state police is going to be responding,” added Dellock.
After reaching out the Frackville’s Chief of Police, he was not available to comment at this time.