WILKES-BARRE — Before city police can use a new record management system and tie in with other departments, the city has to settle an outstanding debt with the existing vendor.
Former Wilkes-Barre City Police Department Chief Marcella Lendacky was not satisfied with the performance of the Total Enforcement system and as a result did not pay the maintenance agreement, said city Administrator Ted Wampole.
“She has withheld some of the payments,” Wampole said Wednesday.
Wampole said he did not know the exact amount, but an amicable resolution is in the works.
“I believe we’re heading in that direction,” he said.
Once it’s resolved the city will transition to the new system paid for with up to $149,734 awarded through a federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency earlier this month approved the city’s proposal for the grant to purchase the Visual Alert system that will enable the department to connect with 46 other departments in Luzerne County that are using it.
“It’s attached to every department in the county,” said Wilkes-Barre Police Commander Joseph Coffay, who is running the department since Lendacky retired in June.
Both platforms are provided by the same vendor, CentralSquare.
Lendacky left following the release in March of the independent report by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association that said she lacked the professional qualifications to lead the department. She had had a rocky relationship with the rank and file officers represented by the Wilkes-Barre Police Benevolent Association.
The county-wide connectivity was noted in the city’s proposal for the funding. It said, “the goal is to improve criminal investigations by allowing command and investigative staff the ability to quickly identify law enforcement agencies that have had prior contact with an individual, a piece of property or a vehicle, as well as provide follow-up contact information.”
There is no timetable to implement the new system, but upgrading the old one will help officers for the time being, said Sgt. Phil Myers, president of the Wilkes-Barre PBA.
“They’ve been forced to do double work,” Myers said.
The department can’t call the company for tech support due to the unpaid maintenance agreement. The support ended on Jan. 3 of this year and Myers estimated the bill was more than $100,000.
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.