A local government official raised concerns with the Lycoming County commissioners at their Thursday meeting regarding gatherings of youths in Muncy Township.
Thomas Schaech, chairman of the township supervisors, said police have been called at least twice in recent weeks for minor disturbances at the Lycoming Mall.
He said he hopes any incidents do not escalate into something worse, especially given the national climate of late.
“We are seeing increased gatherings of frustrated people and an increased level of tension of assembled groups,” he said. “We need to be prepared.”
Schaech’s remarks started a brief philosophical discussion about the role of police.
Commissioner Rick Mirabito said, “People have a right to assemble. That’s what the Constitution is all about. We don’t want to become a police state.”
Schaech, alluding to the late black leader, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., noted that peaceful protests are well and fine
“Martin Luther King effected change through peaceful protest,” he said. “No one is saying the right to protest is prohibited.”
Schaech said he would like to know police are well equipped and properly trained.
He noted that the mall is overseen by security with little experience or training in law enforcement.
“This is about being prepared,” Commissioner Tony Mussare said.
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