Indian Lake police, down an officer, receiving help from the community
As Indian Lake looks to bolster its police force, residents are adding more eyes in the streets with a crime watch program.
Borough officials want to add officers to the two-man police force. A third officer, Gerald Jerome, resigned in March.
Police Chief Jerry Bellak said he’s looking for someone willing to be community focused to take over the job, and has two candidates being interviewed.
“I want residents to have guys who they trust out there,” he said.
Council members said during a borough meeting Wednesday that officers seem to be leaving more often.
“It seems like we hire a new police officer every four to six months for the past four years,” council member Curtis Morgese said during the meeting.
Bellak said many boroughs in the county are in a crunch to find new officers, adding that many young officers — in his opinion — want to go into city policing.
“We will find the right person. It’s just going to take a little time,” he said.
The crime watch program, which was started in January, is a help. Eighteen residents are part of the program, but Bellak said it’s growing fast.
“If I’m patrolling the street and something is going on out on the lake, this crime watch calls me and even gets a picture of the boat,” he said. “Then we follow through on it.”
Residents meet once a month to learn from officers what to look for and how to get information to police in a timely manner. Bellak said he received two calls last month that helped officers.
“All it takes is one or two times of people being called in to know that residents are watching, and that helps us,” he said.
Bellak said he remains positive that the department will be ready for boating season.
“It’s a tough battle, but we will win it,” he said.