By: Erika Stanish
FREEPORT, Pa. (KDKA) – Pennsylvania State Police are answering calls in Freeport until further notice after the town’s new police chief quit after one day on the job.READ MORE: Sto-Rox Junior/Senior High Students Dismissed Early, Will Learn Virtually Due To Threat Of Violence
He was the only member of the department and according to borough officials, they currently have no full-time police officers.
“It’s frustrating to not know what’s happening in your area,” Lauren Edinger, owner of Lucy’s Riverside Café.
Edinger told KDKA local residents are just learning of the news.
“I feel that it’s crazy that that happened on the 2nd and we’re just now finding out about that on 13th,” Edinger said.
Freeport Borough officials told KDKA Saturday that retired Plum Police Sgt. Matthew Feldmeier was hired as the new police chief on Nov. 1.
Election Day was his first day on the job. He resigned after that shift, leaving a resignation letter and his badge behind.
Borough officials said they have yet to learn why he suddenly resigned.
“I believe that we have a problem internally with the police department. Mostly, with the mayor who runs the police department,” Matt Vogan said, owner of Lock 5 Tavern.READ MORE: Study Ranks Pennsylvania As 2nd Best State In U.S. For Christmas Decorations
Vogan said having state police answer calls to Freeport is not enough and questioned what the borough is doing to recruit new officers.
“Having local police that can deal with you one-on-one, that know you, is best. Because they understand also the local people that we deal with,” Vogan said.
While crime rates in the area are low, Vogan said crime still happens.
“We’ve had break-ins. We’ve had cars getting robbed. We have a huge boater community right on the river here that their boats were broken into over the summer,” Vogan said.
Edinger expressed concern Saturday about response times and safety for those in the community.
“I want to make sure that my children feel safe,” Edinger said. “Before you would be out walking about or even driving through the town and you would see them wave to the police on duty, which he would always wave to smile at you, and now, there’s just not that presence here anymore.”
“You can’t say they’re (local police) not needed. They’re needed. And when you open that Pandora’s box of not having cops here, it is only going to get worse,” Vogan said.
KDKA reached out to the mayor several times on Saturday for comment.
He refused to call us back.MORE NEWS: Pfizer Expected To Seek FDA Authorization For Booster Shots For 16, 17 Year-Olds
Borough officials said having state police patrol the area is temporary as they are working to recruit a new chief and officers as soon as they can to build the department back up again.