Residents to Blame for Slow Police Response

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TOBYHANNA -- Some police departments in the Poconos are having a tough time responding to certain calls because the addresses are hard find or just don't exist.

County officials are now asking residents to make changes or face penalties.

If you drive around the neighborhoods of Monroe County, you'll notice bright green signs with reflective numbers.

They are the new address numbers for most homes and businesses in the county.

About three years ago, the county began the process of readdressing homes and businesses in all municipalities.  The goal is to reduce emergency response time.

But recently, the 911 center started noticing a problem in the Tobyhanna area.

"Now we're noticing some lag time in response from public safety providers because these signs aren't up," said Gary Hoffman, the director of the Monroe County Control Center.

"Last week we had an incident where an officer came upon a residence with a door open, looks like a burglary in progress. When he contacted our control center they couldn't verify his location," said Chief Harry Lewis of the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department.

County emergency officials say these green address markers should be attached to a stand-alone pole or to the mailbox. They should also be located at the end of the driveway and on the same side of the street your home is located. But unfortunately, there are some people who are not following the rules.

"People can't seem to follow instructions. There's been a newsletter out. It tells you exactly what to do. People don't do it," said Harry Smith of Coolbaugh Township.

"If someone is hurt in your house, and you give them an address they can't find, it's really going to hurt them and I don't want to see that happen to nobody," said David Pope of Coolbaugh Township.

"We respond to 15,000 calls for service a year.  It could be that one serious felony in progress or officer down issue that we can't respond to in a timely manner because the directions won't be accurate," said Chief Lewis.

Coolbaugh Township Supervisors say they will soon be going out and making sure residents have their address markers displayed properly.

If not, you face a fine up to $500.

Each municipality its own sign ordinance and you'll have to check with the municipality you live in the for the details.