Author: Michel Lee

State Cops for Fee or Free? Chester pays while Colwyn, others ride for ‘free’

In May, Delaware County doled out $100,000 from the district attorney’s drug forfeiture fund and an additional $50,000 from the county’s gaming revenue to pay the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to aid the understaffed Chester Police Department in patrols; meanwhile is Colwyn Borough and others receiving similar patrols for little to no cost? During the third-shift, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., state police respond to calls in Colwyn while the borough’s police department reports for training, according to Colwyn Borough Council President Jacqueline Stevenson. PSP spokesman Cpl. Adam Reed said, “The state police patrol municipalities on a part-time basis. It occurs when the local police department is not working for whatever reason…” It is a part-time basis, according to Stevenson, who said, “It’s temporary and we’re not dependent upon (the state police) 24/7.” The Council president added that costs for state law enforcement assistance are “paid for by state tax dollars, it’s free.” Stevenson did not disclose the type of training the Colwyn Police Department is undergoing, but sources familiar with the situation, who wish to remain unidentified, refuted Stevenson’s claims of training. Instead, the source said, Colwyn “doesn’t have any officers.” Colwyn Mayor Michael Blue concurred, saying the department once had a functional number of eight part-time officers, but that number is currently halved to four, with three pending new hires. “If a municipality doesn’t have a...

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New Chester super is no stranger

After a nearly two month long search and just in time for the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the Chester-Upland School District (CUSD) announced its new superintendent at last Thursday’s monthly meeting. From a total of 20 applicants, some as far as New Mexico, who were interviewed over the course of the roughly 45-day search, CUSD decided to keep a familiar face, interim Superintendent Dr. Juan Baughn. However, making it a full-time, permanent gig, for a second time since 1999, wasn’t initially part of the plan, Baughn told The Spirit. The educator was set to be relieved from...

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Williams guilty; Waters ‘vindicated’

As disgraced Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who recently pled guilty to corruption charges for allegedly using his position in exchange for lavish gifts, sits in a  federal prison cell without bail until he is sentenced in October, the court of public opinion had long rendered a conviction. But perhaps one of the only public opinions that really mattered is that of former state Rep. Ronald Waters (D-191), who was once on the receiving end of Williams’ prosecutorial wrath for allegedly accepting cash from a confidential informant posing as a lobbyist in a 2010 sting operation manufactured by the...

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Medpot’s coming to Upper Darby

Delaware County was not a runner-up for one of the initial 12 medical marijuana grower permits issued by the PA Department of Health (DOH) weeks ago, but two local dispensary permits were granted last week and both are in Upper Darby Township. St. Davids-based Chamounix Ventures, LLC, which will assume the alias “Keystone Dispensaries,” will also operate a dispensary in Chester and Montgomery Counties and be located at 622 Industrial Park Drive in the Yeadon Industrial Park actually located in Upper Darby Township. One of Keystone Dispensaries’ six principals, Dr. M. Louis van de Beek, a medical doctor with a private practice in the Port Richmond and Kensington sections of Philadelphia, said Upper Darby Council, particularly Councilwoman Sekela Coles, was very receptive to the dispensary’s arrival. “(The dispensary) is in Coles’ district and she gave us guidance,” van de Beek said. He added that he was told at the zoning board hearing that his would be the only dispensary in the municipality, but it’s not. Roughly 14 miles southwest, Grassroots Cannabis, an extension of the Chicago-based AES Compassionate Care, fronted by Audrey Slein, a commercial law attorney in Chicago, is also set to open in Upper Darby on 130 South State Road. Out of 280 applications submitted, only 27 dispensary permits were approved and they were the first of a finalized total of 52. The Southeast region managed to...

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Chester to start new cops soon

In a city struggling to reinvent itself in the face of a decades-long reputation for crime and violence, Chester now has a number of new police officers starting their field training, the Spirit has learned. These officers, according to Chester Police Commissioner Otis Blair, will be paired with senior officers on street patrols in the coming weeks and they are a mixture of veterans with experience from other police forces from urban municipalities that mirror Chester to rookies right out of the Delaware County Community College Municipal Police Academy. “They are already familiar with law enforcement,” Blair said, “so we just have to familiarize them with our procedures.” But he added that the re-acclimation process can be a hang up. Novice officers, unlike their experienced counterparts, are viewed as tabula rasa or Latin for “blank slate,” and void of any recollection of any former departments’ policies and procedure which allows them to easily adapt. The new officers apparently follow the “hiring” of eight officers sworn-in earlier this year and five others announced subsequent to that by Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland in response to community outrage over a spate of shootings and killings. Crime reports show that so far this year, there have been roughly 52 shootings, an estimated 10 homicides, and city records reveal that there are currently 26 vacancies in the Chester Police Department for various positions, despite the...

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