WILKES-BARRE -- It was standing room only in Wilkes-Barre city council chambers Thursday night as council members voted to investigate the city police department.
In the back of the room, members of the Luzerne County Fraternal Order of Police and Wilkes-Barre’s police union members stood. They came to ask the council to "fix" the police department.
"The disrespect and unfair treatment they endure from within should not be tolerated. Fairness, consistency, respect and a complete understanding of guidelines and an expectation is all the workforce needs to succeed,” said Sam Blaski, of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Controversy has swirled around the city's police chief Marcella Lendacky and the city's mayor Tony George.
Some police officers have recently been suspended, including the president and vice president of the department's union.
They claim it's because they've spoken out against the chief and the administration.
The chief and city leaders deny that.
But council members say something has to change.
Council member Bill Barrett was himself once Wilkes-Barre's police chief.
"It's an unhealthy situation. It's dysfunctional, obviously. I mean that's a kind word for where we're at now. We need to do something about it,” said Barrett.
So council voted to have the state chiefs of police association conduct a complete study of the police department.
They're hoping the study will reveal what changes have to be made to make things better.
The city's mayor and police chief were not at this meeting, but in a statement to Newswatch 16, Mayor Tony George said of Chief Lendacky:
"..she worked...rising through the ranks of patrolman, sergeant, lieutenant and now chief. I support her 100 percent."
"We need to remember that these officers are here and they're trying to protect us every day and they need to realize that they have support from us as well and we need to make sure things are safe and secure for them as well,” said Wilkes-Barre City Council Chairperson Beth Gilbert.
No word how long the study will take or how much it will cost.