Pittsburgh Police

Public Safety
10:15 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Peduto Says Rank-and-File Police Officers Want Fairness in Discipline

Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday attended the first of two meetings with rank-and-file police officers to find out what they’re looking for in a police chief.

Peduto said he was pleasantly surprised that the comments he heard from officers “were very much in line” with what he’s heard from the public and with his own ideas about what kind of police chief Pittsburgh needs.

The mayor said one of the officers’ primary concerns is fairness.

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Public Safety
2:59 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Overall Crime Dropped in Pittsburgh in 2013, But Homicides and Rapes Increased

The overall crime rate in Pittsburgh for 2013 was reduced by 6.6 percent over 2012, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. The drop is credited, primarily, to a decrease in property crimes.

Violent crime is down by 2.6 percent, but when broken down into categories, all violent crime categories, except for robbery, increased. Robbery dropped 15.8 percent over 2012.

The number of rapes is up, but a news release from the Department of Public Safety attributed the rise to the inclusion of male victims in the Uniform Crime Reporting definition of rape.  

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Witness identification
10:43 am
Fri July 25, 2014

DA Wants Pittsburgh Police To Change Eyewitness ID Procedures

Prosecutors must approve felony arrest warrants issued by Pittsburgh police because of concerns expressed by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala over the bureau’s eyewitness identification procedures.

In a letter to city officials, Zappala wrote that Pittsburgh police must adopt eyewitness identification procedures outlined by the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association by August 16. If not, eyewitnesses might be used to establish a suspect, but the information provided could not be used to charge an individual.

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Public Safety
4:19 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

City to Launch Massive Process to Hire Police Chief

Since before taking office, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has been promising that when it came time to hire a new police chief, the public would have ample opportunity to influence the process.  Today, he and Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar laid out plans for six public meetings and a website dedicated to taking additional input. 

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Public Safety
1:53 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Stephen Bucar Takes Helm Of Revamped Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety

Mayor Bill Peduto introduces acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s new acting public safety director started work this week with former Public Safety Director Michael Huss staying on for the transition. Stephan Bucar was most recently a supervisory special agent section chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, he will now head the city’s Department of Public Safety.

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Public Safety
3:54 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

District Attorney Says Pittsburgh Officer Justified In Wilkinsburg Shooting Death

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says a Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed a man in Wilkinsburg in April was justified in opening fire.

Officials say Adrian Williams, 29, who was killed in the shooting, had led police on an early-morning high-speed chase that started in Homewood and ended in Wilkinsburg, when he crashed the car he was driving and then ran through yards with a handgun.

Zappala said at least 12 other officers were at the scene and had been involved in the chase. Officer Christopher Kertis shot Williams six times.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Heroes Behind the Badge: Documentary Sheds Light on the Life of a Pittsburgh Police Officer

Pittsburgh police officer James Kuzak and his girlfriend Chris Okulanis.
Credit HeroesBehindtheBadge.com

Saturday night Drusky Entertainment is presenting the Pittsburgh premiere of Heroes Behind the Badge, a documentary that tells the stories of two officers who paid the ultimate price, as well as the stories of three severely injured officers.

One of those officers is patrolman James Kuzak, who was shot five times after responding to a home invasion call in the city of Clairton.

Brian Drusky of Drusky Entertainment has timed the showing such that it arrives three years after Officer Kuzak’s incident and five after the death of three Pittsburgh police officers. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:18 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Context Controls Decision in Jordan Miles Trial

The Monday verdict of a civil case between Homewood resident Jordan Miles and 3 Pittsburgh police officers left many questions for our listeners and our guest. Listen to find out why.
Credit Lucy Skywalker / Wikipedia Commons

Four years after an altercation between three Pittsburgh police officers and CAPA High School student Jordan Miles, eight jurors reached a split verdict  Monday.

The officers were found guilty on the charge of false arrest of Miles, but not guilty in the charge of excessive force.

Miles was awarded monetarily for his injuries, but many are still concerned about the result of the trial.

University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris explained one of the most confusing elements the verdict -- if Miles was falsely arrested, shouldn’t any force be considered excessive? 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:41 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

A Mixed Ruling in the Jordan Miles Civil Case, False Arrest But Not Excessive Force

Jordan Miles leaving court Monday after the verdict.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

After weeks of testimony, the civil court trial pitting Homewood resident, Jordan Miles against three Pittsburgh police officers concluded Monday with a wrongful arrest conviction.

90.5 WESA reporter Deanna Garcia describes the verdict as a mixed decision

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Public Safety
2:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Jury Reaches Mixed Decision in Jordan Miles Suit

Jordan Miles, with his family, addressed the media following the verdict. The jury found for Miles on the false arrest count and for the officers on the excessive force count.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Three Pittsburgh police officers were the target of a civil lawsuit brought by Jordan Miles charging that they falsely arrested the CAPA High School student and used excessive force during the incident.
 
The jury found for Miles on the charge of false arrest and for the officers on excessive force allegations. They awarded Miles compensatory damages of $101,016.75 and punitive damages of $6,000 from each of the three officers. Miles called the verdict a victory for him.
 

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Public Safety
4:37 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Police, At-Risk Youth Talk Respect and Perceptions in Forum

Police officers and at-risk youth, some of whom have been in trouble with the law, met in Homestead Friday to discuss ways of improving police and community relations. A panel of both law enforcement officers and youth spoke and engaged with the crowd.

“We talk about how we can impact those arrests by changing police way of thinking, changing youth way of thinking when they’re out on the street so that they know when they interact it doesn’t have to be negative,” said Kimberly Booth, assistant chief probation officer with Allegheny County Juvenile Court.  

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City Government
9:42 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Pittsburgh Appeals Panel's Police Residency Ruling

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is appealing an arbitration panel's decision that its police officers can live outside the city.

The appeal to Allegheny County Court puts on hold last week's ruling that would let officers live within 25 miles of the City-County Building. The ruling means officers could live throughout the county and in parts of six neighboring counties.

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Public Safety
12:05 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

71 Charged in Pittsburgh's St. Pat's Celebrations

Pittsburgh police say there were no major criminal incidents or problems during the city's St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday, or at celebrations afterward, though 71 people were arrested or cited, mostly for alcohol-related infractions.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss says about 23,000 people lined the parade route, many of whom then celebrated in the city — and were joined by other revelers — most at Market Square or the South Side, a redeveloped neighborhood with a large concentration of bars.

City Government
4:59 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Ruling Nixes Pittsburgh Police Residency Rule

A labor arbitrator has ruled Pittsburgh police don't have to live in the city, instead requiring only that they live within a 25-mile radius of the City-County Building downtown.

Thursday's ruling sets aside a November referendum in which voters overwhelmingly favored requiring officers to live in the city.

City Council proposed the referendum after a state law was changed in 2012, overturning the residency requirement. The law didn't require cities to negate residency requirements, but gave them the flexibility to do so.

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Courts
3:30 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Three Officers To Go On Trial Again In Jordan Miles Case

The three Pittsburgh police officers accused of violating Jordan Miles’ civil rights will be back in an federal courtroom Monday, and the lawyer representing Miles says the jury could hear some new evidence.

A jury in August of 2012 found that the actions of officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak did not rise to the level of malicious prosecution as had been alleged in the civil trial, however that same jury remained deadlocked on the allegation that the men falsely arrested Miles and used excessive force while doing so.

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Courts
10:25 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Ex-Pittsburgh Police Chief Harper Sentenced To 18 Months

Nate Harper, seen here at a November 2012 news conference, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday for conspiracy to steal police funds deposited into unauthorized credit union accounts and for failing to file income tax returns for several years.
Credit File Photo / 90.5 WESA

Former Pittsburgh police chief Nathan Harper has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiring to create an unauthorized slush fund, diverting public money and failing to pay income taxes.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon also ordered 61-year-old Harper on Tuesday to repay $31,986 from the fund that he spent on himself.

An emotional Nate Harper addressed the court before hearing his sentence.

“I’m a broken man,” he said, adding that he’ll carry with him to his grave the embarrassment he said he caused his family and friends.

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Public Safety
3:28 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Peduto Seeks Quality Over Speed in Filling Public Safety Positions

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto said he is not rushing to fill two of the most high profile vacant positions in the city: public safety director and police chief.

In a Monday interview with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer, Peduto said it is more important to find the right person for those positions than it is to get them filled right away.

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Community
3:23 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Hundreds Attend Funeral For Stabbed Pittsburgh Police Dog

An estimated 1,200 people attended the funeral for a Pittsburgh police dog stabbed in the line of duty.

The ceremony took place Friday morning at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh.

Rocco, the 8-year-old German Shepherd, died Jan. 30, two days after being stabbed by a fugitive suspect during an arrest. That man, 21-year-old John Rush, remains jailed on charges of attacking the dog and other human officers at the scene, as well as the bench warrants for which he was arrested.

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Public Safety
3:30 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Senator to Introduce 'Rocco's Law' After Fallen K-9 Officer

Legislation that would strengthen the penalties against killing or torturing a law enforcement animal might not have saved K-9 Officer Rocco’s life, but one lawmaker hopes it could save other K-9 officers such as Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s “Snieper.”

That is the goal of state Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) who said he saw how valuable the canines are when he visited Officer Snieper and his handler, Officer Ben Himan Monday.

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Public Safety
10:20 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

On Social Media, Pittsburgh Pays Tribute to Fallen Police Dog Rocco

Pittsburghers, many of them pet owners, took to social media with heavy hearts following the death of Pittsburgh police dog Rocco Thursday evening.

Authorities say 8-year-old Rocco was injured Tuesday night when police arrested a man on warrants for probation violations and failing to register as a sex offender.

Twenty-one-year-old John Lewis Rush was one of Allegheny County's most wanted fugitives. Police say he stabbed Rocco in the back and wounded two officers before being taken into custody.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:08 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Toprani Report Explores Police "Side Jobs"

Credit Kaffeeeinstein / Flickr

From the resignation of Former Police Chief Nate Harper to the debate over officers living within city limits, the Pittsburgh city police department has been a topic of criticism over the past year.

The latest issue is a recent report criticizing city police working side jobs. Post-Gazette reporters Jonathan Silver and Liz Navratil have covered the story in which they describe the situation surrounding the Toprani Report.

This report, authored by former Washington County District Attorney Steve Toprani, investigates the state of the policies and procedures set up to regulate police officers taking “side jobs,” or, employment outside of the bureau.

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Public Safety
12:58 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Mayor Peduto Adding Ranks to City’s Public Safety Agencies

Pretty soon there will be more police officers, firefighters, paramedics and building inspectors on the ground in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced this week he has authorized one class of police officers to begin training in March followed by another class in the fall, with the possibility of a third, one class of firefighters to begin as soon as possible and the hiring of more paramedics.

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City Government
5:11 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

City Council Approves Minimum Staffing Policy for Police

After more than nine months of discussion, Pittsburgh City Council Monday passed a minimum staffing policy for the Bureau of Police.

The policy authorizes the chief of police to initiate a new class in the training academy once the police force falls to 98 percent of the budgeted union sworn police personnel. The class itself would be equal to 5 percent of the budgeted number of officers.

The 2013 and 2014 budgets both allot for 892 officers. The Bureau of Police currently has 840 officers, far less than the 874 officers needed to initiate hiring.

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Pittsburgh Police
6:30 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Police Chief: Proposal for Training, Partnership Program 'Improper'

Tensions ran high Tuesday as members of Pittsburgh City Council met to wrestle with the issue of community-police relations.

Up for discussion were three bills sponsored by Councilman Ricky Burgess, one of which would authorize the city to spend up to $150,000 on a police-community partnership program called Unleashing Respect Project, or URP.

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Pittsburgh Grand Jury Investigation
1:50 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl: “I’ve done nothing wrong, and I stand by that.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he is continuing to do his job and is helping the next mayor transition into office. 

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