The Making of a Police Officer

What Goes in to developing a Bethlehem Police Officer?
Following the Twenty Week Police Academy, and an additional three to four weeks of in house training at BPD as well as thirteen weeks with a field training officer, officers receive ongoing training on a regular basis.
BPD Officers receive well over forty hours of relevant professional development each year.  Subjects include Legal Updates, CPR/1st Aid/AED, Crisis Intervention Training, Response to Active Shooter, Use of Force, Defensive Tactics, Less Lethal Weapons, Firearms, etc.  This is in addition to any specialty training an officer might receive (ERT, Forensic Services Unit Detectives, Mounted Patrol, etc).
Training includes traditional classroom instruction, hands on training, firearms range training, computer simulations, and reality based training scenarios.  Reality Based Training Scenarios,
Reality Based Training Force on Force Decision Making Scenario

Reality Based Training Force on Force Decision Making Scenario

like depicted in the photographs, are the most realistic and stressful training an officer can undergo.  Scenarios can include everything from an incident handled through verbal de-escalation to incidents that escalate to hands on defensive tactics, less lethal weapons, firearms/simunition marking cartridges, etc.
Reality Based Training Force on Force Scenario with Simunition Marking Cartridges

Reality Based Training Force on Force Scenario with Simunition Marking Cartridges

This is just a small amount of the training and professional development our officers undergo on a regular basis.

Bethlehem Aggressive Driving Enforcement Continues

Bethlehem, PA

On Monday July 29th, the Bethlehem Police Department continued the Aggressive Driving Enforcement efforts on Route 378.  The Bethlehem Police Department receives state grant funding to participate in these operations that are designed to target the areas in our jurisdiction with the highest concentration of crashes.  The purpose of these operations is to reduce the number of crashes through education and enforcement.  We use large “Aggressive Driving Enforcement” signs shown below, to warn drivers of our operations.

Aggressive Driving Sign

We have used both the traditional media and social media to educate and inform motorists that these operations will be conducted.  Despite these warnings, much of the traffic continues to travel at excessive speeds along the Route 378 corridor.  We have seen a slight decrease in the average speed  on Route 378 and hopefully, this will translate into lower speeds and fewer crashes.

When we started the aggressive driving enforcement operations, the average speed timed was nearly 67 MPH.  During our last operation on July 29th, the average speed timed was below 65 MPH.

We conducted a two-phase operation timing motorists in both directions on Route 378.  We timed 292 north-bound vehicles that averaged 65.4 MPH, with a high speed timed of 84.0 MPH.  We timed 192 south-bound vehicles that averaged 64.0 MPH, with a high speed of 90.5 MPH.  That highest speed offender was a motorcyclist carrying a passenger and was stopped and issued a citation.

One north-bound motorcyclist was timed at 85.0 MPH, but accelerated to a much higher speed when an officer attempted to stop him.  The motorcyclist drove between other cars on the dotted line and zig-zagged around other cars before heading east on Rt. 22.  Anyone with information on this motorcyclist is encouraged to contact our department at 610.865.7187.

A total of fifteen speeding citations were issued to motorists for PA Title 75, Section 3362:  “Maximum Speed Limits”.

We will again issue a warning that these Aggressive Driving Enforcement operations will continue.  Tell your friends, and please drive responsibly.

Press Release: Arrest of Frederick Hernandez for Rape, Kidnapping

Bethlehem, PA

​On 25 July 2013 at approximately 1630hrs, Fredrick Hernandez came to 507 Sioux St., the home of the mother of his child for the purpose of visiting their juvenile child. A verbal dispute between Hernandez and the mother ensued.

The argument escalated into an ongoing physical altercation during which time Hernandez kicked, shoved and struck her numerous times. Hernandez also forced her to perform sexual acts against her will then raped her.

Hernandez took both the woman and the juvenile against their will to his residence in Garfield NJ. City Police were first notified of this offense on 25 July 2013 at approximately 2231 HRS by family members who went to 507 Sioux St. to check on the welfare of the woman and the juvenile. Family members observed that neither The female nor the child was present and some of her belongings were missing. Family members then found a note written by the female indicating that Hernandez kidnapped, assaulted and raped her.

​Garfield NJ Police responded to the home of Hernandez where all parties involved were located. Garfield PD took Hernandez into custody as a Fugitive from Justice and he is currently being held awaiting extradition to PA at which time he will be charged with, Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint, Simple Assault, Terroristic Threats, Rape and Endangering Welfare of Children.

No further information is available at this time.

Thursday July 25, 2013 Aggressive Driving Enforcement Operation Results



JULY 25, 2013


On July 25, 2013 the City of Bethlehem Police Department conducted an aggressive driving enforcement operation.  The location for the operation was Route 378 between the 3rd and Wyandotte area to the end of Route 378.  The operation ran between 3pm and 6pm.

During that period a total of 431 vehicles were timed.  The average speed of the vehicles timed was 66.37 mph.  The highest speed timed was 87.2 mph.  A total of 19 traffic citations were issued during this operation.  15 were for speeding, 2 for failure to present proof of insurance, 1 seat belt violation, and 1 operation of an unregistered vehicle.

SLOW DOWN!!!!!!!!

Aggressive Driving Enforcement Results

Bethlehem, PA

Aggressive Enforcement Operation Results:

On Tuesday July 23rd, officers from the Highway Patrol Unit conducted Aggressive Driving enforcement operations on Rt 378 South at the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. During this operation, a total of twenty-nine drivers were stopped for speeding, all of whom received citations for speeding. Eight operators were cited for also failing to produce proof of required insurance, and one for failing to be properly licensed. A grand total of thirty-eight citations were issued.

A total of 161 vehicles were speed timed with an average speed of 51.6 MPH. The highest speed timed was 67.6 MPH. The speed limit on the Hill to Hill bridge is 30 MPH. This area was selected due to the regular occurrence of traffic crashes.  Since January 1, 2013 we have investigated sixty-one (61) crashes on Rt. 378 between Rt. 22 and the Five Points.  Twenty-three (23) of these crashes were “Reportable”, meaning they involved injury or towing.  five of these crashes also involved Driving Under the Influence.  These efforts are aimed at reducing these crash numbers by raising awareness of aggressive driving and citing those responsible for causing hazardous conditions.

Please use care when driving at all locations, but please use special care in areas such as the Hill to Hill bridge due to the narrow lanes and lack of a shoulder.

We will continue to conduct these Aggressive Driving operations, so use caution and drive carefully.


Aggressive Enforcement: Rt. 378 at Hill-to-Hill Bridge

Bethlehem, PA

As we have noted recently, we are conducting Aggressive Driving enforcement in various areas throughout Bethlehem, targeting areas of frequent crashes. Officers from our Highway Patrol Unit are currently conducting Aggressive Driving enforcement on Rt. 378 in the area of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. The speed limit on Rt. 378 drops from 55 MPH to 40 at the Center City exit and then to 30 MPH on the bridge.

We continue to experience a high number of crashes at this location that are attributed to high speed and aggressive driving. We will publish additional information regarding citations issued later, as those details become available.


In the meantime, please slow down and heed the speed limit signs on the bridge and avoid a crash. Thank you for your cooperation!

40 MPH Speed Limit Sign

40 MPH Speed Limit Sign

30 MPH Speed Limit Sign

30 MPH Speed Limit Sign

We installed an electronic sign board at the north end of the bridge several weeks ago to warn drivers of their speed:


Bethlehem Police Speed Sign Board

Bethlehem Police Speed Sign Board




Route 378 is not a Speedway. Please slow down.

Bethlehem, PA

Despite previous warnings, here, that we would be conducting future Aggressive Driving enforcement on Route 378, the roadway continues to be used as a test track for high speed driving.

Cat 55

On Tuesday July 16th, the Bethlehem Police Department conducted an Aggressive Driving operation on Route 378. During this operation, we speed timed 302 vehicles that were traveling at an average of 66.6 MPH. We issued sixteen (16) tickets for speeding and one (1) for Driving Under Suspension. The average speed of those who received citations was 78.84 miles per hour. This is an increase over the 77.15 MPH from the first operation conducted in December 2012. The highest speed timed on Tuesday was 90.0 MPH.

We will continue to conduct Aggressive Driving operations in the coming months at various locations throughout the city, so please drive with care.

Look Who’s Coming to Town

The City of Bethlehem Police Department and the Mounted Patrol Unit are excited to announce a new fundraiser benefiting the Mounted Patrol Unit being run in conjunction with the scheduled visit of the World Famous Budweiser Clydesdales to the Lehigh Valley in September 2013.

Budweiser Clydesdales

As part of the fundraising activity, paper horseshoes will be sold for $1 each at numerous locations throughout the Lehigh Valley.  All proceeds from the sales will go to the Bethlehem Police Mounted Patrol unit.  Patrons who purchase the horseshoes will be entered into a drawing to win a Budweiser gift pack and a six pack of tickets to the Gildan Triple A National Championship Game being played at Coca Cola Park. to be delivered by the Budweiser Clydesdales themselves.  Oh yeah, forgot to add the winner will receive their prizes on September 15 via a home delivery by the World Famous Budweiser Clydesdales themselves!

The City of Bethlehem Police Department and Bethlehem Police Mounted Patrol Unit would like to thank Allentown Beverage who is responsible for bringing the Clydesdales to the Lehigh Valley and the Budweiser Clydesdales for this generous fundraising opportunity.

Below are official press releases from the Bethlehem Police Mounted Patrol Unit, Allentown Beverage, and Valley Preferred Cycling Center regarding the intinerary of the Clydesdales while they are in the Lehigh Valley.


Final Press Release Clydedsales


Mayor John Callahan announces Police Chief Jason Schiffer’s Retirement

For Immediate Release: July 9, 2013

Contact: Mayor John Callahan, 610-865-7100      610-216-0208

              Mayor John Callahan announces Police Chief Jason Schiffer’s Retirement

Bethlehem Chief of Police Jason D. Schiffer has submitted a letter of intent today to retire after twenty years of service with the Bethlehem Police Department.  Chief Schiffer will continue his duties through late August.  He looks forward to spending more time with his family while selecting his next career.  Chief Schiffer has expressed his gratitude to the Bethlehem community and has thoroughly enjoyed his career with the Bethlehem Police Department.

“The Bethlehem Police Department is one of the best police organizations in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and that is a tribute to Jason’s untiring efforts.  Our crime rates have continued a downward trend while our crime clearance rates continue to climb.  We continue to be the safest city in Pennsylvania with over 30,000 residents and that margin continues to widen”, Callahan added.

In addition to making Bethlehem one of the finest police departments in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Chief Schiffer also utilized social media in an unprecedented way, moving Bethlehem in to a modern era of public transparency, accountability, and partnership with the community.

Recently the Bethlehem Police Department received both state and national reaccreditation from PLEAC and CALEA.  The assessors in our recent PLEAC accreditation wrote in their report, “The City of Bethlehem Police Department sets an example that should be emulated by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.  Their organizational philosophies and practices show their continuing commitment to providing superior quality service to the community and the department.  It is clear that the department is well disciplined, well trained, well organized and well directed.”

 “We certainly will miss Chief Schiffer and wish him the best in all future endeavors and opportunities as they present themselves”,  Mayor Callahan concluded.

Mayor John Callahan has indicated that Deputy Chief of Police Craig Finnerty will move up and fill the position vacated by Chief Schiffer upon his retirement. A search will be conducted from within the department to fill the Deputy Chief’s position.




JULY 3, 2013

On 08/11/2011 Police Officer Robert Lasso was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance call at a home on Washington Street IN Freemansburg at about 5:15 pm. Officer Lasso had served with the Freemansburg Borough Police Department for nine years.  He was survived by his wife and two small children.

Officer Robert Lasso

Officer Robert Lasso

On April 20, 2013 the City of Bethlehem Police Department Runner’s Club held its second annual Robert Lasso Memorial 5k Race.  The race was attended by over 100 runners.

On July 1, 2013 City of Bethlehem Police Officer Michael Ogrodnick presented Jen Lasso with a check for $7000.

L-R Jen Lasso, Mike Ogrodnick

L-R Jen Lasso, Mike Ogrodnick

The $7000 represents proceeds from the 5k race as well as generous donations from Senator Lisa Boscola, Coca Cola, Davis Beverage, FOP Star Lodge 20, the Bethlehem Twp Police Department, as well as a couple unnamed donors.  Officer Ogrodnick also wanted to thank the many hours put in by Bethlehem Officers Timothy Cooper, James Freed, Dwight Schaffner, Rick Hoffman, and Justin Madera.