Mon City Resident Suggests Civilian Police Review Board | Local News
MONONGAHELA – The Monongahela municipal council heard a request on Wednesday evening for the creation of a civilian police review commission.
Resident Chad DeSantis, who took the matter to council, said residents have raised a number of concerns on social media. âPeople are being arrested for a blown license plate light, while it is not blown,â he said.
DeSantis also noted that in 2009 Monongahela Police Officer George Langan was arrested and charged with selling cocaine and obstructing drug investigations in Mon Valley, and in 2011 l Former part-time officer David James McClelland was involved in the robbery and murder of Evelyn. Stepko from the Coal Center. DeSantis said a civilian police review board would provide checks and balances.
City Councilor Ken Kulak asked what a review board would have done differently with the police officers mentioned by DeSantis.
âThese issues have been resolved,â Kulak said, adding that he didn’t think a review panel would have changed the outcome. “You’re going to have problem workers in any job. What would the review board have (done) in those cases?”
DeSantis said if there had been a review board at the time, it could have been a deterrent.
Monongahela Police Chief Brian Tempest said if someone has a complaint against an officer they can go to the police department and file a complaint in person.
âI believe our officers are doing a good job,â Tempest said. He added that he is not saying that there cannot be times when an agent steps out of the ranks, but if it does, he encourages residents to file a complaint with the department.
Council also heard new complaints Wednesday regarding a condemned property at 1135 Lawton St.
On July 26, 2015, the building was extensively damaged by a fire that killed resident James Huffstickler. The property is slated for demolition by the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, but funds are not available, said City Councilor Alan Veliky. Bids cannot be awarded for demolition until funds have been secured. âThis property is at the top of the list,â Veliky said.
Resident John Conte said the grass in the backyard was about three or four feet tall. He asked the council if the city could barricade the windows and doors of the house.
âThere are a lot of kids around, and it’s not safe,â Conte said.
Attorney Todd Pappasergi said he would provide directions to the city to secure the property until demolition can begin. Mayor Bob Kepics said the money is unlikely to be released until September.