Local officials meet for MECAB talk
Lehigh County Sheriff Joseph Hanna at a meeting of the Mid Eastern Counties Association of Boroughs, held Nov. 30 at the Coplay Municipal Building, addressed a host of topics, such as marijuana use, gun ownership and diversity, along with the duties his staff performs on a daily basis.
Council members and mayors from Bath, Catasauqua, Coplay, Northampton and North Catasauqua were present for the forum, which included a PowerPoint presentation.
Hanna spent more than 39 years with Allentown Police Department, retiring as police chief in 2013. He also was a Lehigh County detective and is in now in his first term as sheriff, creating a community outreach program as one of his first initiatives.
The sheriff’s department has a $5 million budget, Hanna said, adding it has 156 employees.
“I want the best qualified people,” Hanna said of his staff.
The sheriff’s office, while performing law enforcement assignments, has personnel at the domestic relations office, where custody and other hearings, sheriff sales, transport of prisoners, security at the courthouse and assignments in the courtrooms — including serving warrants and civil papers — take place.
Issuing of gun license permits are spiking, Hanna reported.
“I don’t take a position. I follow the law,” Hanna said of the stance he takes on gun ownership.
The sheriff said it is “certainly an epidemic” of young people overdosing on drugs, with increasing numbers of fatal consequences.
Hanna also said the state has done its “due diligence” in researching the issue of legalizing marijuana use.
Hanna said in 2017 the old courthouse will undergo a major and much-needed $17 million upgrade.