Local police department seeking “night watchers”

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WHITE HAVEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County police department in our region is asking for help to watch over the town during the coronavirus pandemic.

The best part? It comes with a paycheck. A paycheck always sounds good right? This new position does not come with any power. Rather a streamline connection from an observer to the on-duty officer.

Businesses have closed their doors due to Governor Tom Wolf’s order across the state, including in White Haven. The borough’s police department is now having residents become part of the force.

“They do not have any law enforcement power. But again, they do have the ability to contact the on-duty officer immediately which just makes it a little bit easier for everybody to respond,” Police Chief Thomas Szoke said.

Szoke says he wants to keep White Haven covered while an on-duty officer may be covering surrounding townships. The new positions opening up are in light of businesses being closed or closing early due to the COVID-19 crisis. He does not want them to become a target.

“That’s our most important issue right now, is making sure our store fronts are not vandalized, damaged, broken in to,” Szoke said.

While no such acts have been committed, Chief Szoke is staying proactive.

“This is the first time that we’ve needed to have this type of additional help. But then again this is really an extraordinary situation that is going on,” Szoke said.

With every job search comes job requirements. The chief says those who are interested must be honest, have no criminal background, and be dependable.

So far the department has hired one person at $10 an hour. The department is looking for at least two others to work.

“Anywhere between four and six hours a night. But they can pick the shifts,” Szoke said.

Night watchers will monitor in and around Main Street and report any suspicious activity to the on-duty officer.

“So anybody who really wants to come out and give us a hand, we really appreciate that,” Szoke said.

Chief Szoke tells Eyewitness News after the coronavirus pandemic settles, he hopes to continue “night watchers” but move them towards auxiliary police officers.

Those who Eyewitness News spoke with, who did not want to go on camera, said they agree with the chief’s proactive steps but don’t think the crime is here.

If you want to become part of the night observers, call the White Haven Police Department at 570-475-8888.

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