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Coffee with a Cop

Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas Kish hosted Coffee with a Cop Sept. 21, an event that had been long postponed during the pandemic.

This forum was held outdoors, on the grounds of the Catasauqua Municipal Complex, 90 Bridge St.

Anyone who dropped by was invited to speak with the chief about borough police-related matters.

A number of folks stopped by simply to say hello. Visitors were also offered ice cream, cookies and Gatorade.

Kish reported the number of police calls in Catasauqua has risen “dramatically” since he became chief nearly 20 years ago.

Kish has been in law enforcement for 46 years. He noted, as a youngster, he knew he wanted to be a police officer. His goal then was “not to be a chief, but serve as a career officer.”

Kish studied criminal justice at Lehigh County Community College, earning an associate degree.

When asked the best thing about being the police chief, Kish said, “Meeting the community and getting to know the people.

“I was born and raised in Catasauqua,” he said. “I graduated from Catty High.”

He said he is happy to return to and serve Catasauqua as its police chief.

Kish noted fraud calls have increased, as criminals are becoming seemingly more sophisticated. One recent fraud allegedly scammed unsuspecting potential tenants out of their security deposit and a first month’s rent as the deceiving person pretended to be the landlord. Kish hinted the person has been identified and is about to be apprehended.

Because of the increase in electronic devices, unsuspecting people provide private information that allows someone to access their bank accounts, where they can steal a person’s funds.

Kish also said many local police calls involve alcohol use and domestic disputes. He added calls that combine the two can make for a dangerous situation for a police officer.

The reported delay of mail delivery due to post office staffing shortages was mentioned.

Additionally, Kish commented on a case where criminals raided the mailbox in front of the Catasauqua Post Office with a homemade contraption used to fish out mail that included thousands of dollars in checks. The thieves then “washed” the checks and cashed them. With the use of police cameras, however, the thieves were caught.

“Washing a check” is the process of erasing details from checks to allow them to be rewritten, usually for criminal purposes.

Mayor Barbara Schlegel said she was delighted the event was held outside. Councilman Cameron Smith and community activist Janice Lathrop dropped by as they were going to another meeting in the municipal building.

Whitehall resident Heidi Taschler Washinski stopped by to enjoy the gathering. She was very interested in the stories being shared by Kish and attendees.

Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church Pastor Brian Riedy and church volunteer Diane Czar also spent time at the gathering interacting with Kish.

The one-hour event flew by, as it provided an important touch point for residents to spend time with the police chief.

PRESS PHOTO BY BILL LEINER JR. Whitehall resident Heidi Taschler Washinski, Catasauqua Mayor Barbara Schlegel, Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas Kish, Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church Pastor Brian Riedy, Holy Trinity member Diane Czar, community member Janice Lathrop and Catasauqua Councilman Cameron Smith gather for a photo during a Coffee with a Cop event, held Sept. 21 outside the borough municipal complex, 90 Bridge St.