SUNBURY, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The mayor of Sunbury, Kurt Karlovich is in the process of establishing a diverse citizen police advisory commission to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and citizens.
The mayor and police chief have joined together in creating the commission, which is currently in the beginning stages, but will ultimately aim to provide more transparency.
“It’s just another level and tool that we’re trying to use to try to get the public involved and be more diverse. We are a diverse community and we have to recognize that,” Chief Bradley Hare of the Sunbury Police Department told Eyewitness News.
Mayor Kurt Karlovich says he has been thinking of this idea for a while but is now putting his foot on the pedal, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“Well this is extremely important because this is another way to get our community to have a louder voice and be able to be heard by their local government and the police department itself to actually enact a change,” Karlovich said.
“What happened to Mr. Floyd was just unacceptable, especially law enforcement. There’s nobody that dislikes bad cops more than good cops and there’s good cops and there are bad ones. We just need to address the issue, especially now. We need to get it out there,” Hare said.
The commission will essentially be a council for the community with monthly meetings where the chief of police and mayor will sit in on and hear them out. Eventually the commission would present their ideas and changes to City Council for review. No elected politician will be able to serve on the commission at any time.
“Well I think it will be good,” Lydia Fritz, a Sunbury resident said. “Come on we need somebody like that. We need to get together instead of guys fighting with one another. I hate that.”
Some already have changes in mind when it comes to the police department.
“This is the only precinct I know that you got to ring a bell to get in,” one community member said. “Somebody could have been shot and dying out here. You got to ring a bell to get in? I don’t know what this is. I really don’t.”
Mayor Karlovich says there’s no specific time frame when he would like to have this commission established but he says ideally before the end of the year would be a good start.
Anyone who is interested in joining the citizen police advisory commission should email City Hall with a detailed letter explaining why they would like to join the organization an how they represent their community. Their email is email@example.com.