Mount Oliver police upgrade their equipment, training to combat crime
Over the course of the last few years, the Mount Oliver Police Department has upgraded their facilities, equipment and capabilities to decrease the crime rates in the area.
Combating crime in the borough had become increasingly difficult. And, with the growing issue of drugs on the streets, several steps had to be taken to deal with criminal activity.
Since Chief Frank Mosesso took his current position in March of 2001, several large-scale improvements have been made to the community's police department. With the aid of outside funding, local politicians and monetary resources provided by the Mount Oliver council, the department has been through, and is still achieving, a steady progression in resources and manpower.
Using grants provided through the offices of State Representative Harry Readshaw and State Senator Jay Costa, the borough has been able to add equipment, vehicles and even a new member to the department. “We have been able to purchase a lot of things that have helped us to improve the department,” Mosesso said. “And, we now have a canine.”
In addition to the items purchased with grant money, the department has also been able to acquire three bicycles from the Pittsburgh Housing Authority. This is just one of many ways the borough hopes to make the presence of law enforcement officers more obvious to deter would-be offenders.
The newest addition to the force is a trained police dog named “Jacko.” And, although he is the only one that the department currently has, it is not out of the question that they may pursue funding for more. According to Mosesso, it all depends on if the department can get additional grants for this purpose.
Jacko has also been outfitted with a bulletproof vest through the efforts of several members of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Mount Oliver Hook and Ladder Company. The women, Bonnie Gatts and Heather Kestner, were honored at the borough council's September meeting for raising the funds needed to purchase the canine's protective equipment.
The borough has also recently started a joint training program for the Mount Oliver police and fire departments. Both organizations train together in preparation for emergencies that may require all of their people of assets. Mosesso also added this is intended to keep both departments on the same page in the event that some sort of disaster may occur.
Along with the joint training program, the Mount Oliver Police Department now has a special operations unit as well. Those working in this program, which has been up and running since June, will have several of the same responsibilities and some additional ones. Among the extra duties are the serving of all warrants, high-risk entries and the conducting of drug raids.
Officers on the special operations unit train twice each month. Their preparation usually entails practicing entries and shooting at the firing range.
Including this addition, the community now has one more division to go along with those already dedicated to stopping drunk drivers and the spread of drugs in the community. “It is another added bonus for the borough,” Mosesso said.
When Mosesso became chief, the department had only nine officers, all of which were employed on a part-time basis. Today, that number has been increased to 14, including one female. And, each officer is now employed on a more permanent basis. “With a full-time department, we now operate on a more professional level with more stability,” Mosesso said.
According to Mosesso, the goal of all these measures is simply to make the police presence within the community more apparent. In doing so, “We are trying to lower the crime rates by becoming more visible,” he said.