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Saltsburg Borough police to get Tasers

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 11:33 a.m.

Saltsburg Borough Council took action at its July meeting to purchase and implement two Tasers for use by the borough police department, at a cost not to exceed $4,000.

Tasers — electroshock weapons that interrupt the body's voluntary muscle control — are a step down from hands-on use of force, according to Police Chief Gary Walker.

The cost will include training that will be carried out by Don Isherwood, one of the borough's police officers who is a certified Taser instructor.

As part of the training, participating police officers will experience the effectiveness of the weapons by having Tasers used on them.

Every muscle in your body locks up,” Walker said of the experience. “It feels like there's a thousand people inside your skin trying to beat their way out with sledgehammers.”

The Tasers are loaded with cartridges that feature a door that explodes out when the Taser is activated. Two darts are shot out — one level with the Taser, and the other at an 11-degree angle.

“And the farther away you are, the wider the spread (of the darts); the wider the spread the more they work,” explained Walker.

Borough council also read three bids that were received for the removal of eight trailers at the mobile home park at High Street and Pine Court Way that the borough recently purchased.

Of the three bids received, the lowest, at $2,500, came from Saltsburg residents Arthur McGuire and Bryan Bonatch, followed by a $3,000 bid from Michael Meagher of Homer City and a $4,500 price submitted by A&A Construction of Saltsburg.

One of the specifications on the advertised bidding was having liability insurance, and council agreed to accept the lowest responsible bidder that met the bid requirements.

The bidders will also be contacted to determine whether they have the ability to cap the sewer lines that are on the property. Power lines are also an issue, and since the property is now in the borough's name, the borough must call to have the power lines removed.

Once the trailers are demolished, council can move forward with its plans for the property, possibilities for which include a playground and borough maintenance building.

Vice President Kathy Muir suggested that council also look into securing the trailers. Walker noted that, when any of his officers have entered the abandoned trailers, they have shown signs of use.

“We've got people going in there. We're finding hypodermic needles in there, beer bottles — all kinds of stuff in there,” Walker said. “There's use in those trailers. I would suggest you get those things secure.”

Council discussed boarding up all the doors and windows as it awaits a decision on a bidder.

Saltsburg resident Dan Rose brought up several issues he wanted council to address —including the status of both the former Patterson Mill Co. feed mill, which is now the home of Saltsburg River & Trail, and the W.R. McIllwain Store and Warehouse, otherwise known as the “mule barn,” as well as disputes about rights-of-way and the borough's vagrancy laws.

Concerning the feed mill, council President P.J. Hruska said the matter — which involves numerous building citations that have not been heeded — has gone before the court system, which granted owner Eric Sutliff an extension until the beginning of August. At that time, he must show that the building has been sold, that he has a sales agreement, or that repairs have been made.

In other business, borough council:

• Approved a $50 donation to the Saltsburg Football Boosters;

• Accepted the resignation of Jeffrey Shondelmyer, a two-year, full-time borough worker who has now entered into police work;

• Approved a resolution from First Commonwealth dealing with the borough's pension plan;

• Approved a demolition permit for a garage at 707 Water St.;

• Gave permission to Walker to issue trespass notices to specific residents whom Walker says are disorderly and are littering. Walker will send letters banning these individuals from borough property;

• Announced that the Saltsburg Free Library is now open at the Salt Center. Hours are 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Volunteers are sought to allow the library to extend its hours;

• Voted to close Point Street from S&T Bank to Marble Way for the Lions Club's annual auction slated for Wednesday. A preview will be held at 4 p.m., followed by the auction with auctioneer Julie Dunmire at 5 p.m. Donations of items, with the exception of clothing, are being accepted.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or

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