THROOP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) A local police department is trying to make it safer for people who “exchange” pretty much anything; from items purchased at an online marketplace to handing over keys to a recently sold vehicle.
The yellow lines, along with signs and a camera, outside the Throop Police Department indicate the zones for safe exchanges.
“I started to do some research. I thought it was an excellent idea,” Throop Police Officer Bill Hazleton said.
That idea came from Officer Hazleton earlier in the year, before COVID-19. Hazleton saw similar “safe exchange zones” across the country. It was recently implemented in Lackawanna County.
“It’s for anybody, it’s not just for Throop residents. It is for people who sell things online,” said Chief Andy Kerecman with the Throop Police Department.
The hope is the safe exchange zones will also help keep people from getting ripped off or even violent. Chief Kerecman says it also can be used by parents who share child custody.
“People would meet at maybe McDonalds parking lot or a Giant parking lot. This is a little less… Little more private,” he said.
The department installed a new security camera to capture any exchange that happens here. Plus, they changed the direction of another camera to keep everyone safe.
“We have 24-hour surveillance, outside this building and other buildings in the community, that our borough-owned,” said Kerecman.
He hopes other departments in the area do the same, or something similar.
“So it would be awesome that if they have the space and they have the little extra money to develop it, and then everybody could have it in their own little community.”
While Chief Kerecman encourages people to use the “safe exchange zone”, he reminds you to be vigilant and to call 9-1-1 if you feel you’re in danger.