Status of Dupont police chief still uncertain

By B. Garret Rogan - For Sunday Dispatch


    DUPONT — No updates were offered during Tuesday night’s regular borough council meeting regarding the town’s most recent police controversy.

    Dupont officials explained that they are awaiting results of a hearing to be held Aug. 21 before more decisions can be made about the status of police Chief Sean Murray. In the meantime the borough’s police department continues to function with Mayor Dan Lello supervising the officers on duty and all actions being ultimately overseen by the borough council.

    Murray was placed on leave after having to give up his weapon in order to comply with the requirements of a protection from abuse request from former partner Julie Kelly.

    He also has P.F.A. against Kelly and has claimed that she has falsified reports in order to attempt to have him arrested.

    Murray’s legal troubles come after he replaced former acting police chief John Seranchek who resigned in November of 2014 amidst allegations of abuse of authority from Luzerne County District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis.

    Despite the situation regarding Murray, the council reported positive police news during the meeting. Lello and several members of council brought up thanks from residents regarding the noticeable increase in enforcing traffic regulations on large trucks.

    Council president Stanley Knick Jr. stated the borough has received inquiries from neighboring boroughs as to whether or not Dupont’s traffic inspectors could perform services in their towns.

    The suggestion was quickly shot down by Dupont officials who stated that the service was too valuable to the municipality.

    In other police matters, Lello was joined by council member Mark Kowalczyk in denial of residents’ feelings that Dupont’s involvement in a new regionalized police force would add $50,000 to the borough’s annual budget.

    Lello stated that the regionalization was still in a study phase and that it was impossible to accurately state what involvement would hypothetically cost.

    Kowalczyk added that figures being used by a study commission to represent Dupont’s recent police spending might not be accurate.

    Also on Tuesday, Knick claimed to have received criticism from residents that the borough has not pursued grant funding aggressively enough.

    Knick pointed to $3,078,400 in state funding received over 10 years for a total of 21 different projects in illustrating his belief that Dupont has excelled in grant acquisition.

    The Dupont Borough Council will hold its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. The meeting would have otherwise been held on Sept. 8, but is being rescheduled so that the borough manager Patty O’Donnel will be able to attend.

    By B. Garret Rogan

    For Sunday Dispatch

    Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at [email protected]

    Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at [email protected]

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