Serious crime was up 8% in the city of Altoona last year. Overall crime was down 9%. Chief Janice Freehling says that's because they didn't have the manpower to go after a lot of lesser crimes. They had their numbers reduced by Act 47 and several retirements and resignations.
Traffic enforcement was one of the areas that suffered. And she thinks that is behind the rise in fatal crashes last year. She says when you are not patrolling traffic then the number of crashes increases.
Councilman Dave Butterbaugh acknowledged that but commended the force for what they did do. He said they faced the challenges and did a commendable job. Mayor Matt Pacifico agreed.
Chief Freehling says Operation Our Town and the community's help through the department's Facebook page have helped their department through their low numbers. And she thanked them for that.
There are four vacancies on the Altoona Police force right now. Chief Freehling hopes to start looking at applications next week.
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