HAZLETON -- One police department is beefing up as it continues to fight drug crimes throughout the community.
Six Hazleton police officers were sworn in at Hazleton City Hall, along with one firefighter.
Four of the patrolmen are replacing officers who are no longer in the department, while the other two are funded by a federal grant. The chief of police hopes to keep those jobs for the long term with the help of more grants in the future.
It's all part of how the department continues to crack down on crime, in particular illegal drug use in the community.
"There's a challenge here," he said. "One to two percent of your population is committing 99 percent of the crimes here in Hazleton. So you identify that one to two percent and you do a focused deterrent."
Now, Speziale says he's seen crime decrease by 26 percent in the city. And he points out that with these new hires, people in the community should see more officers out and about in the area. In some cases, there may be double the number of patrolmen out and about during certain shifts.
"People are going to be getting out of cars and talking to the community," Speziale added. "It's going to be a complete community engagement with the way these police officers patrol."
For some in the community, they have seen the decrease in crime out in the community over the past two years.
"It's a huge drop in crime," said Paula Mistal, a lifelong resident of Hazleton. "You always see the officers going out on calls and drug raids and whatever but it is definitely going down."