Chiefs talk safety at chamber luncheon
Monongahela police Chief Brian Tempest said there was a time he could drive past the intersections of Second and Main streets and Third and Railroad streets and see suspected drug dealers lingering near pay phones.
“We had a lot of drug problems in the business district and, unfortunately, in our own department,” Tempest said.
Tempest and Carroll Township police Chief Paul Brand discussed security during a Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday at Hill's Restaurant in New Eagle.
When Tempest talked about problems in the department, he was referring to former officer George Langan.
Langan pleaded guilty to criminal use of a communications facility, obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension and official oppression in November 2010.
By entering the plea, Langan avoided possible conviction on numerous drug-related charges.
Tempest said that since 2008, more than 100 arrests of suspected drug dealers have been made in the city.
In 2008, with the support of newly-elected Mayor Bob Kepics, Tempest reached out to local, state and federal authorities.
He credited the support of the Washington County District Attorney's Drug Task Force and Kepics. Tempest said the county pumped close to $250,000 in drug task force efforts into the city.
“Are we ever going to solve all of the problems? No. But we drove them underground or out of town,” Tempest said.
Tempest said that while driving through another Valley town – which he declined to identify – he has seen drug suspects who used to operate in Monongahela.
The chief said one heroin dealer, with whom authorities tried to set up an undercover buy, told him, “I won't sell to you in Monongahela, Carroll Township or New Eagle.”
The illegal sale of prescription drugs is the newest battle for police, Tempest said.
“The only thing we ask you is to be our eyes and ears,” Tempest told the chamber crowd.
“You call 911 to report a suspicious car and six months later that person goes to jail, and it was because of that initial call you made,” Tempest said.
Brand credited Tempest with cleaning up the community.
“Brian was very humble,” Brand told the group. “His force really took it to the drug lords, with the cooperation of the district attorney.”
Brand said there are no magic weapons for fighting and winning the war on drugs.
“There's no dropping the right bomb in this war,” Brand said. “If we arrest the right person, there's another to take their place.”
Chamber President Anthony Bottino said the chiefs were invited to the meeting because keeping communities safe is a priority for the chamber.
“If we're going to do business in our communities and live here, we have to keep our communities safe,” Bottino said.
“I know we have issues, but we're nowhere near what other communities are facing.
“We have such a nice, friendly place to live.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Stockdale fire, N. Charleroi crash keep emergency personnel hopping
- Ringgold teachers OK four-year deal
- N. Belle Vernon hires police officers
- North Charleroi retiree spent almost 4 decades in medical profession
- Birthday milestones give California Community’s Class of ’57 reason to celebrate
- Cal U’s GACO garners big return on investment
- Hikers, bikers benefit from Belle Vernon senior’s Eagle Scout project
- Ringgold’s DeJuliis set to enter W&J hall of fame
- Mon Valley school districts set to begin new year
- Belle Vernon Area chief paints rosy picture of district
- Denying risk not a solution