Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sir, Have You Been Drinking? (Update below)

The police chief of Towanda Borough, Bradford County, PA, told the borough council on Monday night that gas drilling has caused an increase in crime in the area. Responding to questions from borough council member Bob McLinko, Police Chief Mitch Osman said that police calls have gone up, especially the severity of the calls. Drinking at the bars in Towanda seems to be contributing to this problem. There used to be some predictably quiet nights in town, but not anymore. The borough recently applied for a federal grant to hire an additional full-time officer but was turned down. The request will automatically be re-considered in the future. Chief Osman says Towanda could actually use two more officers.

Alcohol and drug use has been reported as a significant problem in other areas of the country that have experienced gas drilling. The work is very hard. Fatigue is omnipresent. Loneliness may be a big factor since many of the drillers are far away from home and family. However, Towanda will now have to deal with this problem at taxpayers' expense. Along with a higher crime rate comes the need for more jail space, more staff to process people, and even more worrisome, more danger to the citizens of the community. Why is Chesapeake Appalachia, a self-described advocate of good community relations, not offering to pay for these additional expenses? It would be unconscionable for the natural gas industry to ignore these social problems. Bradford County deserves compensation from the private gas drilling corporations whose employees are causing trouble, no matter how small a percentage of the gas drilling workforce is involved.

Read the full article in the Towanda Daily Review here.


UPDATE: Yesterday the Bradford County Prison Board decided to begin housing inmates from Sullivan County at the Bradford County Jail. Sullivan County has no jail and has used the Wyoming County jail which is now full. Bradford County Jail has 198 beds and is not currently full. Until now, Bradford County has not housed inmates from other counties. It costs Bradford County $51 per day to house its own inmates, but, since the county would not be responsible for the medical costs and transporting inmates to court, the cost for inmates from other counties might be less.

In light of this news, and taking into account the rise in crime in Bradford County as described by its Chief of Police, it may be wise to plan ahead for Bradford County and all area counties where gas drilling is in progress. Future needs may require more and more sharing of resources for county correctional facilities. Take note also that Bradford County pays. not only for food and a jail cell for its inmates. It also pays for any medical treatment that may be necessary during incarceration.

Read the full article in the Towanda Daily Review here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gas drilling has caused an increase in crime ??? Come on, who do you think you are kidding here ??? Get a life !