Friday, July 31, 2015

Colwyn mayor declares state of emergency again

Daniel Rutland, mayor of embattled Colwyn, declared another state of emergency in the .3-square-mile borough yesterday after his previous order was overturned by borough council two weeks ago.

Colwyn mayor declares state of emergency again

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Daniel Rutland, mayor of embattled Colwyn, declared another state of emergency in the .3-square-mile borough yesterday after his previous order was overturned by borough council two weeks ago.

Allegations of police misconduct surfaced at the beginning of this month after a juvenile was allegedly Tasered by an officer while he was handcuffed in a holding cell.

Those allegations led Rutland to take three officers who are under investigation by county detectives off of the work schedule indefinitely, including the acting head of the department, Deputy Chief Wendell Reed.

Rutland made the new acting head of the department Lt. Wesley Seitz. He is the officer who investigated the Tasing and provided information on it to the mayor.

In response, borough council, led by council President Tonette Pray, who many sources say is aligned with Reed, voted to place Seitz on leave as well, even though he is not under investigation. That prompted Rutland to declare a state of emergency on May 2 so he could place Seitz back on the schedule.

At a raucous borough council meeting the following night, council voted to put Seitz back on leave, rescind the mayor's state of emergency and to reinstate Reed, even though he remains under investigation.

In his most recent order issued late last night, Rutland has once again reinstated Seitz as acting head of the department, noting that the department has four vacant positions, three of which are supervisory. His order also says Seitz is guaranteed protection under the state Whistleblower's Act.

Rutland goes on to note that he is in charge of scheduling the department's officers and he will not schedule any officers who are under investigation.

In the order, Rutland writes that the department is "SEVERELY understaffed," and he is calling on aid from the state police and surrounding municipal police departments.

Rutland declined to comment today on the order.

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In The Daily Delco blog, Daily News reporters William Bender and Stephanie Farr dig up all the dirt - from crazy crimes to political malfeasance and everything in between - in Delaware County.

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