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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

Commissioners ‘Break Ground’ on $1.8M Expansion of EOC, 911 Facility

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The Bucks County Commissioners on Thursday joined county Emergency Management officials to break ground on a $1.8 million modernization project at the county’s Emergency Services building in Ivyland.

Slated for completion next year, the enhancements will expand and update the existing Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to create a more efficient work environment optimized for modern disaster response.

“It became clear to all three commissioners early in the pandemic, when this building was ground zero for not just the disaster response, but also for a lot of our public messaging, that this facility badly needed some upgrades,” said county Commissioner Chair Bob Harvie. “Last summer’s flooding, tornadoes and hurricane only underscored that need.”

Bucks County Commissioners Office

When activated, the EOC serves as the county’s emergency response nerve center during response and recovery from disasters – both natural and manmade – that require the mobilization and coordination of multiple emergency services, government and nonprofit agencies.

Changes to the facility will triple available meeting spaces and update technology, allowing multiple teams working on different aspects of a disaster response to meet and coordinate simultaneously – including with county 911, as well as outside agencies – without disruption to other efforts.

Planned improvements also include a press briefing room and a designated space for fielding and responding to public inquiry.

“In retrospect it seems obvious that we might need a dedicated space to brief the media and the public, or that more than one team might need a meeting space at one time,” Harvie added. “But unfortunately, that capacity was lacking under this facility’s existing design.”

Construction costs for the project are budgeted at $1.38 million. Technology and security upgrades are estimated to cost another $385,000. The county is paying for the improvements with federal COVID relief and Homeland Security funds.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved funding for construction during its May 18 public meeting.

“Each and every service our staff provides from this building is critical to keeping Bucks County safe,” said Emergency Services Director Audrey Kenny. “The Commissioners’ continued investment in us, and shared commitment to our cause empowers our Emergency Services and Emergency Management teams to be the best in the business.”

Bucks County Commissioners Office

Construction is expected to last eight to 10 months, during which time the Emergency Operations Center will be housed within the Bucks County Health Department. To minimize disruption to 911 operations, the county’s emergency dispatchers will work out of an alternate facility in Doylestown.

The county has contracted with the following firms on this project: Holstein White, Inc. (Engineer); Matthew V. Piotrowski Architect, LLC (Architect); Magnum, Inc. (General Contractor); Palman Electric, Inc. (Electrical Contractor); Hirschberg Mechanical (Mechanical and Plumbing Contractor); Guy M. Cooper, Inc. (Fire Protection Contractor).

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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

Two Women in Separate Incidents, Each with Probation Warrants Set off License Plate Reader Notifications Jailed

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Back to back arrests of two women with arrest warrants whose license plates set off notifications to police were jailed in separate incidents earlier this week.

According to police, on July 15  just before 7 pm., an officer on patrol on the  200 block S. Main street was notified of a hit via the automatic license plate reader  on a vehicle with a registration suspended for insurance cancellation. The officer then observed the same vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on the subject vehicle. Upon confirming that the operator of the vehicle had an active arrest warrant issued by Bucks County Adult Probation, the officer arrested the 42-year-old woman from Yardley on the warrant.  The woman was processed and remanded to Bucks County Prison. The vehicle was released to a family member.  Additional motor vehicle violations may be filed.

On July 16, at approximately 8:18 pm, Yardley Borough Police were on patrol  and received a notification of a hit via the automatic license plate reader on a vehicle with an expired/suspended registration. The officer observed the subject vehicle and utilizing a timing device noted that the subject vehicle was speeding.  The officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle on the 200 block of South Main Street. The driver of the vehicle was determined to be operating the vehicle without a valid license, registration, or insurance, said police.

Upon confirming that the operator of the vehicle had an active arrest warrant issued by Bucks County Adult Probation, the officer arrested a 23-year-old woman from King of Prussia on the warrant.  The woman was processed and remanded to Bucks County Prison. The vehicle was impounded.  Additional motor vehicle violations may be filed. The matter is pending court, police said. 

Both matters are pending court dates.

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

More than 80 Police Departments across Southeast Pennsylvania to Target Aggressive Drivers during Statewide Mobilization

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that more than 80 municipal police departments from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties will join the Pennsylvania State Police in a coordinated aggressive driving enforcement wave. This collective effort, part of a statewide mobilization running through August 18, is aimed at reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our area roadways, ensuring your safety on the road.

The enforcement wave will target heavy truck violations, pedestrian safety, red light running, and tailgating. Motorists demonstrating unsafe behaviors, such as driving too fast for conditions or other aggressive actions, will also be cited.

Law enforcement will utilize strategies such as traffic enforcement zones, saturation patrols, speed enforcement details, corridor enforcement, work zone enforcement, and multi-jurisdictional patrol to identify and cite aggressive drivers.
The enforcement is part of Pennsylvania’s Highway Safety Program and is funded by part of PennDOT’s investment of federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you encounter an aggressive driver, PennDOT offers these tips:

  • Get out of their way and don’t challenge them.
  • Stay relaxed, avoid eye contact, and ignore rude gestures.
  • Don’t block the passing lane if you drive slower than most traffic.
  • Do not attempt to follow or pursue the vehicle. You or a passenger may call the police. But, if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.
  • >

    According to 2023 PennDOT crash data, there were 1,363 aggressive driving crashes, resulting in 39 fatalities and 104 suspected serious injuries in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Aggressive driving crashes involve at least two aggressive driving factors in the same crash. Factors include, but are not limited to, running stop signs or red lights, tailgating, careless turning or passing, and driving too fast for conditions.

    The goal of targeted enforcement is to reduce the number of aggressive driving-related crashes, injuries, and deaths on roadways throughout the state. Any aggressive driver stopped by police will receive a ticket.

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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

Local Lawmakers Want to Expand DNA Sampling in Criminal Cases

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Last week a group of Bucks County Republican lawmakers with local authorities held a press conference to discuss changes they said need to be put in place regarding the collection of DNA from potential criminals.

State Senator Frank Farry state Rep. K.C. Tomlinson, Rep. Joe Hogan, Rep. Kristin Marcell, Rep Labs, joined First Assistant District Attorney Ed Louka, Bucks County Sheriff Fred Harran, Chief of Lower Southampton Police Department Ted Krimmel, and local law enforcement officials at Comic Collection, in Feasterville to discuss the importance of DNA technology in Pennsylvania’s Criminal Justice System.

Specifically legislation the legislators  are working on would expand the number of DNA samples in the criminal justice system by requiring post-arrest testing of anyone charged with a felony or certain misdemeanors.  This sample-taking would be much like the established process of taking an arrestee’s fingerprints.  Nineteen states currently collect post-arrest DNA samples.

The press conference highlighted the impressive work by the Lower Southampton Police Department in an investigation of a violent robbery at Comic Collection in September 2022, where a DNA match led to the charging of two Michigan men 18 months after the crime.

It will also in mind the importance of conviction integrity served by advanced use of DNA identification. A sample can prove the innocence of someone else who has been incorrectly accused or convicted and imprisoned for a crime when the DNA ends up matching someone.

SB988, and its companion bill HB2030, would also expand the collection of DNA samples for those offenders convicted of criminal homicide, which under Pennsylvania law are their own classification of crime and technically not classified as felonies. This legislation would close that loophole and require collection of DNA samples from these offenders to solve other cold case murders and crimes.

 

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