Sunday, March 7, 2021

Girardville on the Right Track with New Chief of Police

After being sworn-in during a council meeting in early February, Girardville's new police chief is taking the steps needed to build a better police department for the borough.

On February 10th, 2021, Frederick J. Lahovski Jr. was officially sworn-in as Chief of Police after working as the borough’s officer-in-charge.

Chief Lahovski, an honorably discharged Marine Corps. Veteran, grew up in Reading and spent most of his adult life in the Lehigh Valley.

Lahovski, has spent over 30 years as a social worker and continues to do so on a part-time basis which has included all facets of social work which included drug and alcohol counseling and in-patient rehab.

While working as a social worker, he also attended the Allentown Police Academy where he graduated and landed his first law enforcement job with the Colonial Regional Police Department.

For 2 years, Lahovski worked for the department until being hired by the Bethlehem Township Police where he spent most of his career and eventually retired.

After retiring, he continued to work part-time for the Nazareth Police for 8 years and also working locally in Schuylkill County for the municipalities of McAdoo, Kline Township, Rush Township, Tamaqua, and Coaldale police force.

Lahovski said he was about to hang up the badge when he heard Girardville was looking for help.

Girardville Mayor Michael Zangari credited Lahovski’s years of experience as their reason for hiring him as chief.

“Every department was building from the ground up, but we realized that we had to build ours from the top down. We needed to find someone that would come and give everything they could and put their best foot forward to create a respectable department. We wanted someone that when they showed up, they could handle the situation at hand. Fred has a great deal of experience, and during interviews with myself and the borough council, he shared his accomplishments and ideas. We realized from his accomplishments that those attributes could be utilized in Girardville.” said Zangari.

After working for larger departments, Chief Lahovski says that he finds small municipalities refreshing and personal.

“Girardville is a place where one person can make a difference, it's small enough to get to know people personally on a daily basis.” said Lahovski.

Lahovski has worked for the borough for several months now and has said the citizens have been “very warm and welcoming”.

Lahovski says he is focusing on building a relationship with the citizens of the borough.

“People want to be treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy whether or not they've done something wrong or if they are a victim, or in line at a store. They want to know that behind a badge, there is a real person. That’s the true meaning of community policing service”. Said Lahovski.

In terms of the issues that Girardville is facing, he says the borough is facing the same issues that every town is facing. His experience has shown him that it's how you deal with those problems that define your department.

“Girardville is just like every other town. I say that as a compliment. It has the same problems as every other town. Everybody is trying to improve their quality of life, everyone is trying to reduce their crime rate, everybody has a drug problem, everybody has domestic disputes, everyone has parent/child and neighbor conflicts. If you have a good relationship with your community, when those issues arise, they are much easier to temper.” Lahovski said.

Chief Lahovski and Mayor Zangari say that have a great working relationship and have already begun to work on bringing the department up to date with the 21st Century.

Along with standardizing what needs to be done on a call and establishing consistency with the department, the pair have moved to the department to a paperless system.

They’ve also been working on something they are calling the “Girardville 360 Initiative”, which involves building a list of citizens with security systems and using them to help solve the borough's crime. They say since they’ve begun, they already solved 3 crimes with the help of security cams from residents.

Lehovski says he is moving forward to help the borough move forward with the confidence he has been given.

“The citizens of Girardville have put their faith and confidence into the elected officials to represent their interests, and I'm appreciative I've been given the confidence of those officials to have the care and safety for the citizens and their property. I hope through hard work and diligence, I'm able to maintain the standard of living the residence deserve.” Lahovski said.

Mayor Zangari says "I just want to thank our citizens and borough council, it took us a little time to get to this point but I certainly believe we are on the right track."

Story by J. Reed / Photo Submitted

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.