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Ford City police officers resign, blame council for department's problems

| Thursday, May 15, 2014, 12:51 a.m.

Two Ford City part-time police officers have resigned because of what they say have been safety issues caused by the borough council's inaction and poor decisions regarding the department.

Officers Christopher Thiel and Edward Boop submitted their letters of resignation to Mayor Marc Mantini and council in April. Both will continue on the roster through the end of May. They are among 14 part-time officers in the department. Sgt. John Atherton, who is the officer in charge, and Sgt. Mark Brice are the department's only full-time policemen.

Boop, an Army veteran who has been a Ford City patrolman for more than two years, said he does not have an issue with the police department.

“I do have an issue with the council itself,” he said.

He said council has created an unsafe situation by failing to supply police with adequate equipment.

“We've had burglaries, robberies, DUIs, domestics, bomb threats — we have a huge drug problem,” he said. “We can't fight that using the equipment we have.”

The police department has only one working patrol car, and the council at a Monday meeting failed to approve a motion to spend about $400 to fix the other one it has that is out of commission. It is that type of inaction the officers who are leaving cited in their letters of resignation.

“I feel I have to leave before their lack of ability to perform their duties is going to get an officer or citizen hurt or killed,” Boop said in his resignation letter. “When a department can no longer depend on its equipment and leaders, then that department is no longer effective and the council is to blame.”

Thiel in his letter said officers have had to use a borough pickup truck to patrol, and that response time on calls has suffered when there was only one car in service.

“We need police protection, and we need good equipment,” Mantini said. “Council has to vote on police spending. These are top-notch guys who are leaving.”

Thiel, who has been a Ford City police officer for four years, said council should be more worried about the safety of the community and its officers.

“They bicker about petty stuff, but when it comes to police — they won't pay for anything,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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