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Chief's Corner

John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police


Feb 15

Community policing connects with citizens in South Fayette Township

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 10:32 AM by Andrea Iglar

Like many police departments in America today, the South Fayette Township police are responding to rapid social change and emerging issues by creating new ways to connect with their communities. This approach is known as community policing.

We have started many new community-oriented programs within the past two years, such as Project Lifesaver, Coffee with the Chief, Project Teddy Bear and several officer-instructed programs, to name a few. We also recently distributed a Community Outreach Publication covering public safety and police topics. Our department aims to build strong relationships with our residents through these and other programs.

As I continue to develop community-oriented services in South Fayette Township, I consider these four elements of community policing:

  1. The philosophy that community policing is important
  2. The strategic dimension, which translates that belief into an idea
  3. The tactical approach, which turns an idea into a concrete program
  4. The organizational dimension, which supports and facilitates implementation of the program

Community policing means we are committed to directing resources to problem solving, and we are accountable to our residents. I am always emphasizing to our officers the merits of community policing and how it relies heavily on citizen involvement in matters that directly affect the safety and quality of life in South Fayette Township. This philosophy bolsters the community feeling that citizens can and will be heard.

Our police department will continue to grow in the spirit and philosophy of community-oriented policing. Residents will continue to have several ways to be heard—at events like Coffee with the Chief and homeowner’s association meetings or through online resources such as Facebook and our website’s anonymous crime tip line.

Find details on our police web page.

Here’s to a happy, safe and wonderful 2017!


John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police
South Fayette Township
Feb 15

South Fayette police take steps to address opioid epidemic

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 10:32 AM by Andrea Iglar

Our community of South Fayette Township is a wonderful place to live, work and enjoy family and friends, but that doesn’t make us immune to difficult issues that are facing most communities across the country. One of these issues is the rise in opioid use, including heroin and prescription painkillers.

Opioids are most often used medically to relieve pain, but such substances can be abused for the morphine-like effects produced in the body. A recent study found that three out of every four heroin users started abusing prescription opioids prior to using heroin. The most recent study available found that 47,055 persons died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014—the most since 1968, when the federal government began tracking this data. The opioid epidemic doesn’t discriminate; it cuts across all genders, races and income levels.

In order to fight this increasing epidemic, we as a community must educate our youth from an early age. The South Fayette Township Police Department has worked with our school district to educate students on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, both through the D.A.R.E. program for the past 30 years and most recently through Project Pride, which teaches kids about decision making, peer pressure and other topics. Of course, the most important education comes from the home, and it is the responsibility of parents to educate and inform their children about these dangers.

Since 2015, all South Fayette police cars have been equipped with naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, to help prevent opioid overdose deaths. The medication may be administered to someone who ingests narcotics either intentionally or accidentally. There are no negative effects from the use of naloxone whether the person has actually overdosed or not. Narcan comes in two forms—injectable and nasal. Our officers have been trained and certified to administer the nasal Narcan. Our officers have administered Narcan on several occasions since 2015 with a 100 percent success rate.

With opioid abuse creating a public health risk in communities large and small, and with families being torn apart by the tragedy of addiction, our police department has partnered with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office to place a prescription medication collection box in the police station lobby for anyone to anonymously drop off old or expired medications for destruction. We started this program in an attempt to minimize the possibility of prescription medication being abused by people struggling with addiction.

Increasing public awareness of this difficult and sometimes uncomfortable issue will help the community recognize the problem, discuss it and, ultimately, overcome it.

Thank you,
John R. Phoennik, Chief of Police
South Fayette Township
Jun 24

Know the rules for door-to-door solicitation

Posted on June 24, 2016 at 11:05 AM by Andrea Iglar

Throughout the calendar year, and especially in nicer weather, the South Fayette Township Police Department receives many requests from people wishing to apply for solicitation permits to distribute, obtain or sell something door to door.

Every applicant must provide the department with specific identity, business, product and vehicle information so police know who is walking around in our neighborhoods. The permit request fee is $50 per day, per person.

Each person with an approved permit is issued a laminated photo identification card including name, company and the dates solicitation is allowed. Each person must carry the photo ID while out and about. If a door-to-door salesperson does not have the police-issued photo ID on their person, please notify the police department by calling 9-1-1.

Solicitors may not operate on Sundays or on weekdays earlier than 8:30 a.m. or after dusk.

A list of currently approved permits is posted on the police department’s web page at Applications and regulations also are posted online.

Thank you, and have a safe, enjoyable summer.

—Police Chief John R. Phoennik