New Castle News

January 11, 2013

Retired officers raising funds for Union cops

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Two former police officers have launched a campaign to raise money for the Union Township police department.

Joe Lombardo, retired Union chief, and Larry Forletta, retired federal drug enforcement agent, have teamed up to raise funds to help the department buy equipment and meet other needs.

Both are Union Township residents.

“Joe is a lifelong resident here,” Forletta said, adding he has been a township homeowner for several years.

They are canvassing businesses — some on the corporate level — to help the department during difficult financial times.

They have raised more than $3,000 and plan to continue.

Fundraising is a recent concept for police departments to make financial ends meet and ensure their equipment is operable and up-to-date.

Forletta and Lombardo are asking businesses in their community to donate. They are contacting them in person or by letter, Forletta said.

The first donation, Dec. 20, was for $1,000 from Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bardash, owners of Parkstown Restaurant and Lounge.

A second contribution of $350 came from Michael Mansour, owner of Car Connection. Huntington Bank has supplemented that with an $1,850 contribution, according to police officer in charge, Mark Julian, who said he appreciates the efforts of the two retired officers.

“We believe that by obtaining private funding through corporate, business and community donations, we will enhance the police department without placing more financial burden on the community,” Forletta said, stressing none of the money will be used to pay officers’ salaries.

Forletta and Lombardo are donating their time to the effort.

“We feel it’s the best thing we can do to give back to the police department by getting businesses and the community involved,” they said.

Forletta noted the township supervisors are pleased with their efforts.

Chairman Patrick M. Angiolelli commented that funding “is always a concern.

“We’ve remodeled the police department building and additional equipment is needed. Tax dollars are a little slim,” he said. “Whatever they raise is what they plan to put toward that.”

The fundraising allows the community to keep the complement of officers it has for 24-hour coverage, Angiolelli said, adding the township is considering hiring an officer for the schools.

“That’s a few more hours that we’ll have money for,” he noted.

Julian and full-time officer Mike Mrozek share the responsibilities of being in charge of the police department. The department also includes three full-time and four part-time patrolmen.

Julian said the department appreciates the financial help, because “it’s hard to come up with the money.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)