TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Gilpin officials cleared in police office break-in

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

The Gilpin officials involved in a reported Nov. 26 burglary at the township building have been cleared of any wrongdoing, township solicitor James Favero said on Monday.

The incident occurred when it was discovered that Officer-in-charge Ralph Varatto hadn't returned all keys following his suspension the day before.

In a text message sent well before that day, police Chief Dan Clark asked why supervisors broke into the police office and saw classified information.

About 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the township's clerk-treasurer, a police officer and board of supervisors Chairwoman Janine Remaley were present when the department door was forcibly opened.

“We stood by our actions and it was found we did nothing wrong,” Remaley said.

Favero said the Armstrong County District Attorney's Office and the state police are finishing an inventory of the Gilpin Police Department's evidence locker, which is being conducted to rule out any allegations.

Three days after the burglary call, supervisors held a special meeting and voted to suspend Clark.

Varatto and Clark remain suspended without pay, Remaley said.

Probationary part-time Officer Walter Scratchard requested that the board increase his and another new officer's salary from $13 per hour to $15.50, the rate that part-time officers receive after a one-year probationary period.

The township is patrolled by state police and three part-time officers, one of whom has been with the township for 10 years, Remaley said. They were given permission to work additional hours following Varatto's and Clark's suspensions, she said.

Remaley said a decision on pay would be made by the board during its Jan. 6 reorganization meeting, when a new member will be sworn in and board leadership will be chosen.

“That decision will be up to the new board,” she said.

The township is accepting applications for part-time police officers through Jan. 6. Supervisors said they intend to hire two or three part-time officers to increase coverage.

Remaley said the current officers also work in other municipalities.

“They are providing coverage to the best that their other schedules allow,” Remaley said.

2014 budget

In other business, supervisors passed a 2014 budget with no tax increase.

Millage will remain at 6.25 mills. The $675,000 spending plan is about the same as this year.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Child pornography videos tied to Winfield man
  2. ATI reveals details of contract offer to steelworkers union
  3. Mt. St. Peter draws crowds with 34th annual Festa Italiana
  4. South Butler superintendent heads home for Mohawk job
  5. Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations
  6. USW rallies in support of ATI, other steel companies’ employees
  7. Avonmore mayor to resign after being charged with theft
  8. HBO to end ‘Banshee’ series, disappointing Vandergrift
  9. Multiple delays to slow travel between Alle-Kiski Valley, Greensburg
  10. Freeport to address sewage bill deadbeats
  11. Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley offers free services at clinic