WILKES-BARRE — An investigation is underway of a Facebook post by the union representing police officers that criticized a department order prohibiting access to internal reports.
But the head of the Wilkes-Barre Police Benevolent Association Wednesday sought clarification on the focus of the probe.
The city issued a statement Tuesday that said, “The posting is being investigated internally.”
“We’re a little confused,” said Sgt. Phil Myers, president of the PBA that represents nearly 80 patrol officers, sergeants, detectives and lieutenants in department.
Myers said the PBA is not aware of any investigation. Furthermore, he said, the administration’s statement did not make it clear whether the investigation centers on the fact that the PBA posted its concerns on Facebook or information about the departmental order was released.
Police Chief Marcella Lendacky Wednesday did not respond to an email request for comment. She also did not return a phone message from Tuesday.
The union reacted to an email sent Monday by Commander of Patrol Ron Foy by posting its concerns about his directive that prohibited officers from accessing reports that had previously been available through the department’s Record Management System.
“Commander Ronald Foy has officially made his Officers (sic) jobs more dangerous, and has made them less competent in their patrol duties,” the posting read.
PBA Vice President Daniel Duffy Tuesday said the order “hobbles” officers who depend upon the reports to do their jobs. Officers can still access their own reports, but not those of others, Duffy said.
The PBA has had a rocky relationship with Lendacky, who was appointed chief in March 2016 by Mayor Tony George. The union has publicly questioned Lendacky’s qualifications and her ability to run the police force. Although the department is mostly male, the union stated its issues with the chief are not because of her gender. The PBA said many of its members have had female supervisors in other departments, the military and the private sector.
Last December the PBA asked city council to conduct an independent investigation after an anonymous survey of PBA members blamed Lendacky for the all-time low morale and toxic atmosphere in the department. In its post the union renewed its call for an investigation.