South Whitehall Police Department
John T. Christman, Chief of Police
BUSINESS OFFICE HOURS are 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday
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The South Whitehall Township Police Department began service on January 5, 1970 and has been in continuous service since that date. The department was initially comprised of five officers and the Chief of Police. It has since grown to a complement of thirty-six officers plus the Police Chief and two civilian staff. In addition to providing 24-hour patrol service and crime investigation, the department participates in the regional DUI Task Force, sponsors a local DARE program, maintains both K9 and Bicycle patrolling services and participates in two Community Watch organizations.
Office of the Chief of Police, John T Christman
On November 18, 2015, John Christman was sworn in as the Chief of the South Whitehall Police Department.
Chief Christman started his career with the South Whitehall Police Department in September of 1992. Prior to joining the South Whitehall Police he was a Deputy Sheriff for Lehigh County and a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Chief Christman is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State Sheriff’s Academy and the Allentown Police Academy.
Chief Christman has spent almost his entire career in the patrol division. Within the patrol division he held various assignments such as: Field Training Officer, firearms instructor and Assistant Commander of the LCMERT. Chief Christman has worked his way up through the ranks, previously holding the titles of Corporal, Lieutenant, Captain and Deputy Chief. He is a graduate of William Allen High School and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Thomas Edison State College. Chief Christman has successfully completed the Penn State Police Executive Leadership Series and FBI LEEDA Executive Leadership Schools.
Chief Christman is a member of various professional organizations. He serves on the South Whitehall Public Safety Commission, and both the South Whitehall and Lehigh County Emergency Management Teams. He currently serves as the Shooting Sports Committee Chairman for the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He also founded Law enforcement Explorer Post 4444 which continues to serve youths interested in a law enforcement career.
LEHIGH COUNTY REGIONAL DUI TASK FORCE
The Lehigh Valley Regional DUI Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional cooperative law enforcement effort to implement sustained DUI enforcement activities. The Task Force is funded by a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant which is administered by the South Whitehall Police Department. Captain Jason Negron is the program coordinator and Sergeant George Hummel is his assistant.
The Task Force participates in a statewide initiative to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on highways caused by intoxicated and chemically impaired drivers. The Task Force conducts sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols on area roadways known to experience a high level of alcohol-related accidents and/or arrests. The Task Force also conducts mobile Awareness Patrols to gather traffic flow data and gain public exposure. The Task Force participates in numerous community events to help educate the public about the danger of driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances and the impact it has on everyone involved.
The Task Force is comprised of 14 Lehigh County police departments and works closely with the Allentown Police Department and the Pennsylvania State police in joint task force efforts. We have made contact with thousands of motorists and have apprehended hundreds of impaired drivers over nearly two decades of dedicated and uninterrupted service. Our goal is to reduce impaired driving by increasing public awareness of the problems associated with impaired driving and to increase public perception of the fear of apprehension of driving while impaired.
D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Its goal is to provide children with the skills needed to avoid involvement with drugs, alcohol, and violence. Patrol Officers David Jones and Darvin Faust provide D.A.R.E. instruction to the children of the Parkland Area School District, St. Joseph the Worker School, and the Jewish Day School. The department has been administering D.A.R.E. instruction since 1996.
The Detective Division of the South Whitehall Township Police Department is comprised of officers assigned to specialty positions to provide investigative support and follow up to victims of criminal activity. The unit members have completed various courses of instruction in multiple disciplines such as: Crime Scene Investigation, Crime Scene Photography, Latent Print Processing, Evidence collection, Interviewing, Voice Stress Analysis, Electronic Communications Laws and Investigations, Narcotics Investigations, Juvenile Law and other relevant training.
The Detective Division works with various law enforcement and intelligence agencies when conducting investigations that my cross multi-jurisdictional lines or share an interest in the involved individuals or crime patterns.
Detective Division Assignments
-1 Supervisor (Lieutenant)
– assigned to assist with the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, Elder Abuse Task Force
– 3 Detectives assigned to conduct criminal investigations in South Whitehall Township
– 2 Detective assigned to assist at the David M. Petzold Digital Forensics Lab of the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office; additionally assigned to a Homeland Security Investigative Task Force
-1 Detective assigned to the Lehigh County Drug Task Force
-1 Youth Services/Juvenile Officer
– conducts juvenile criminal investigations
– conducts DARE classes in several Parkland School District elementary schools
– serves as a role model for the students
2 School Resource Officers (SRO)
– work with Parkland School District to foster a safe educational environment and are present as additional role models at the schools
– 1 SRO assigned to Parkland High School
– 1 SRO assigned to Parkland Middle Schools (duties divided between both schools)
– conducts DARE classes in both middle schools
South Whitehall Township Police Department revived its K9 program in March 2004 with the addition of Yaenkee, a male German Shepherd born July 24, 2002. Yaenkee and his handler, Patrol Officer Kyle Golden, completed an initial 2 month K9 Academy training program through Kromerhaus Kennels and provided K9 services to the department, as well as surrounding jurisdictions as needed. Yaenkee was certified yearly through the Eastern Police Canine Association as a patrol and narcotics detection K9. Patrol Officer Golden and Yaenkee also provided educational demonstrations to the public. Yaenkee was officially decommissioned on December 7, 2011 and lived with Golden who assumed his care and expenses. Yaenkee passed away on November 10, 2013.
On December 17, 2011, the team of Patrol Officer Kyle Golden and his new K9 partner, Cirrus, started working for South Whitehall Township. Cirrus was born in Holland on May 7, 2010. He was obtained through the Progressive K9 Academy, Walnutport, PA. Officer Golden and Cirrus attained certification for Patrol and Narcotics Detection through the Eastern Police Canine Association on December 16, 2011.
Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program
The South Whitehall Township Police Department participates in the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. The Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) is a federal grant program that provides financial assistance to states to reduce the number and severity of accidents and hazardous material incidents involving commercial motor vehicles. The goal is to reduce accidents, fatalities and injuries involving commercial motor vehicles through consistent, uniform and effective safety programs. Within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there are approximately 300 MCSAP certified inspectors who are municipal police officers. Our department currently has one certified officer who participates in this program. In addition to the basic truck inspections our officer has special training to allow him to conduct inspections of motor coaches and buses. This enforcement is primarily conducted at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdeom.
In addition to the participation in the MCSAP program the police department has four officers who are certified to conduct weights and measures enforcement. Weights and measures enforcement is basically enforcing sections of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code pertaining to vehicle weights and lengths. The certified officers utilize portable scales and platforms scales within the township to enforce the laws. This is important to ensure safe and effective operation of vehicles as they travel through the township and also to maintain the infrastructure of township roads.
The South Whitehall Township Police MCSAP officer regularly works along with officers from other jurisdictions when conducting truck inspections.
Lehigh County MERT
The Lehigh County Municipal Emergency Response Team (MERT) started in 2002 and currently consists of more than 50 members in the following units: Communications, Hostage Negotiation Team, Oversight Committee Members, Tactical EMS, Tactical Dispatchers and Tactical Team Members. The Tactical Team is comprised of police officers from different municipalities throughout Lehigh County. South Whitehall Township Police Department currently has three officers assigned to the MERT: Officer Andrew Gardo, Officer Jaryd Winklebauer and Officer Eric Dotter. All three members are qualified Operators and are an integral part of the team.
The mission of the Lehigh County MERT is to support any local, state and federal law enforcement agency by providing a tactical response to critical incidents. The MERT is used for challenging situations that require the use of specialized weapons, equipment, and tactics to resolve effectively, with the safest outcome for all parties involved. Some examples of when the team would be used include; barricaded persons, hostage situations, and high-risk search warrants. The members of the Tactical team attend training at least two per month along with their regular patrol duties.
South Whitehall Township Police Department’s Bicycle Patrol Unit was instituted in 2001. It consists of five officers, all certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association, who spend portions of their assigned shifts patrolling the residential sections and park areas of the Township on bicycle, bringing a more personal presence to the neighborhoods.