The original version of the pamphlet titled "You and The Police" has been around since the mid-1990s, published after Jonny Gammage's death during a traffic stop. Now, the Pittsburgh police bureau has collaborated with the Black Political Empowerment Project, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Citizen Police Review Board on an updated version of the brochure, which they hope will be distributed in public schools and churches across the city. The handout offers tips on how to handle interactions with the police at traffic stops, within a private home and during an arrest. B-PEP Founder Tim Stevens, ACLU Legal Director Vic Walczak, and Executive Director of the CPRB Beth Pittinger explain the new information and why the city believes the pamphlet's re-introduction is necessary. Walczak cautioned that, though he thought the brochure is helpful and would minimize negative police interactions, it wouldn't completely solve the problem.
"There's no silver bullet. No matter how good the brochure is and how wide a distribution you put out, it's not a guarantee that everything is going to be hunky dory. You're going to have misunderstandings. Some employees, like in any business, are not going to follow the rules or do the right thing."- Vic Walczak
Also today, Joe Wos presents the story of the "world's greatest liar" (a Pittsburgh-er, of course) in honor of April Fool's Day.
You and The Police (starts at 0:00)
Black Political Empowerment Project Founder Tim Stevens said that it falls to both the community and to the police to work towards improved relations.
"You don't get results by sticking your head in the sand. You see where the sand is and you deal with it, and that's what we're trying to do. We are creating an opportunity collectively."
The Great Liar (starts at 34:20)
On this April Fool’s Day pop culture contributor Joe Wos will introduce us to Joseph Mulhatton, a Pittsburgher, who in the late 1800's and early 1900's became known as the world’s greatest liar! His wild fabricated stories were reprinted worldwide and caused a stir. He even fooled PT Barnum!
More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here.