Welcome – Message From Chief Arnold A. Porter
The Bristol Borough Police Department was first organized in 1888. One hundred and twenty-one years later, we can only imagine how the beginning days were for those early protectors of our town. However, we do not have to look back that far to see the many changes that have occurred, not only in law enforcement, but to the Police Department itself.
Our Police Officers have received extensive training in many areas of crime fighting, including Drug Identification & Interdiction, Interview & Interrogation, Accident Investigation & Reconstruction, Crowd Control, Explosive Devices, Crime Scene Photography & Evidence Collection and our latest piece of forensic equipment – the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. Our Sergeants have attended supervisory schools to enhance their skills as First Line Supervisors and they have played a tremendous role in the overall supervision of our twenty officer department.
How we do our job as Police Officers has also changed throughout the years. We have expanded our options in non-lethal weaponry to include stun guns, pepper spray, and most recently the TASER. Patrolling techniques, scheduling modifications and the creation of alternative methods to combat areas of increased criminal activity and quality of life issues, such as the Squad 5 Detail, have all contributed to our proactive course of keeping Bristol Borough safe for residents and visitors.
While performing their duties, our officers have had to endure cramped and outdated conditions within the police station. Those substandard conditions have been replaced by a modern, state of the art facility which includes advanced 21st century technology and equipment. The renovations have breathed new life into our 82-year old building, along with renewed pride and enthusiasm from each officer.
The Bristol Borough Police Department is not only a group of dedicated officers empowered to maintain civil order and enforce local ordinances and state statutes, but it is also a good community partner with our service organizations and all of our schools. Successful programs such as Shop With a Cop and the Police Trading Card Program are only two examples of the impact that these partnerships have had on our youth and the families in Bristol Borough.
The cooperative efforts of the members of our Police Department, Council and Mayor have enabled the Borough and its Police Department to continuously and successfully strive to become innovative leaders in Bucks County. As a member of our Police Department for almost 30 years, I can assure our residents that we will remain steadfast in our goal to keep Bristol Borough safe and to provide our community the highest level of law enforcement services available.
It is the mission of the Bristol Borough Police Department to provide a safe and secure environment for the residents, business community, and visitors to Bristol Borough by means of effective and efficient delivery of professional, positive, and innovative services.
The Bristol Borough Police Department was first established in 1888 and High Constable Charles Saxton became the first Chief of Police. The population was approximately 7100 and criminal activity was minimal. Five officers assisted the Chief with all of the duties required as protectors of the Borough. As the Borough population grew, so did the number of police officers. Today, twenty full-time and part-time officers work together to maintain order in the 1.7 square mile community consisting of approximately 10,000 residents.
Staffing & Deployment
The Police Department currently consists of 20 officers.
4 Patrol Sergeants
1 Investigations Sergeant
14 Patrol Officers
These officers are deployed throughout Bristol Borough in a variety of ways to best serve the community:
The backbone of the Bristol Borough Police Department is the Patrol Unit. Officers assigned to patrol carry out the basic functions of the Police Department. These functions include the protection of life and property, maintenance of public order, prevention of crime, response to emergency situations, arresting violators of the law, and the proper enforcement of all laws and ordinances.
Two-thirds of the Police Department utilizes our specially equipped mountain bikes to patrol throughout Bristol Borough. Officers patrol on the bicycles during special details addressing criminal activity, quality of life issues, festivals, parades and other community events. Bicycle Officers employ the Community Policing approach during their patrol activities.
Sergeant Randy Morris oversees all criminal investigations, including narcotics, which occur in Bristol Borough. He is trained in many areas of investigative techniques and is a certified operator of the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. He is also in charge of the Crime Lab.
Our specially trained Narcotics Officers investigate drug activity that occurs in Bristol Borough, as well as assisting other police agencies throughout Bucks County. Many factors contribute toward their success throughout their investigations; their training and knowledge, information provided by other officers and the general public, confidential informants and the use of high tech equipment.
The Bristol Borough Police Department has two highly trained Accident Investigators who investigate all fatal accidents and accidents involving serious bodily injury. They have been trained to reconstruct an accident scene based upon many factors and to recreate the accident in 3-D animation. They have also been trained on a sophisticated Nikon accident investigation system that utilizes laser measurements and coordinates
In 2008 Bristol Borough Police Department established its K-9 Unit. Kilo, a specially trained Dutch Shepard, was purchased and assigned to Patrolman Charles Palmer, who also attended extensive K-9 training in Canada. Since their partnership, Kilo has been very effective in tracking suspects, locating hidden narcotics, crowd control and public relations. Also, Kilo and Patrolman Palmer are often requested to assist surrounding law enforcement agencies.
First established in 2006 as a proactive strategy to address criminal activity and quality of life issues, the Squad Five detail has been a very popular and successful initiative in Bristol Borough. During the Squad 5 details, uniform and plainclothes officers in marked and unmarked vehicles, bicycles and on foot, saturate areas of concern based on gathered intelligence from officers and residents. Squad 5 has also expanded its role in crime prevention through the Community Policing philosophy. Officers interact with the community in a collaborative effort to develop solutions to problems and increase trust in the police.
Animal Control Officer
We recently welcomed a new Animal Control Officer. Lifelong resident and retired Borough employee, Bill Palmer has taken on the position of Animal Control Officer. Bill replaced Bart Krause who resigned the position late in 2008. If you have an animal complaint, the Animal Control Officer can be reached through Police Dispatch at 215-788-7811.
Three more officers became certified on the TASER after completing a 6-hour training session consisting of classroom and practical applications. Pictured are officers Kevin DiPaolo, Maria Gonzalez, Dean Johnson and Instructor Dino Lepore.Ptlm. Dean Johnson shows his proficiency with the TASER during a practice session at the training and certification class recently held in the Police Department’s new Training Room and Sallyport.
Various technology grants have afforded the Police Department the opportunity to purchase advanced high tech equipment to assist in our crime fighting efforts. Recently purchased items such as a forensic light source used to discover trace evidence at crime scenes, special instrumentation to lift latent fingerprints, a fuming chamber to chemically develop latent fingerprints and software programs that can enhance and identify latent fingerprints are all valuable tools at our disposal. Advanced photographic and video equipment also play a large role during criminal investigations.
Youth Aid Panel
The Bristol Borough Youth Aid Panel gives first-time juvenile offenders a second chance. When a juvenile commits a criminal offense, the arresting police officer has two options: The juvenile offender can be formally charged and referred to court, or the juvenile can be referred to the police department’s Youth Aid Panel.
For some juveniles, Youth Aid is a better option. To be eligible for acceptance into a Youth Aid Panel, the juvenile must not dispute his/her involvement in the offense. The arresting police department and the juvenile offender’s parents must also agree that Youth Aid is the best choice.
The Youth Aid Panel is comprised of community volunteers who are trained to hear cases involving first-time juvenile offenders. A Police Liaison Officer is also assigned to assist the Youth Aid Panel. The panel’s job is to interview the juvenile and the parent(s) to determine an appropriate course of action that will benefit the victim, community, and juvenile. The panel will assign obligations, just as the courts would. Some of the most common obligations are: Community service, a letter of apology, drug and alcohol classes, and a writing assignment