Pittsburgh Police

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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Pittsburgh Police
3:36 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

City Controller Releases Police Secondary Employment Audit

City of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb released Tuesday a performance audit of the secondary employment procedures utilized by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

The audit is just one part of a larger bureau-wide audit. Lamb said he wanted to release this portion early due the ongoing changes and public interest in secondary employment procedures.

The report takes a hard look at Cost Recovery Fees, or CRFs, which until recently, were not codified in city law.

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Pittsburgh Police
5:25 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

City Council Passes Bill to Outsource Secondary Employment of Police Officers

The Special Events Office at the Pittsburgh Police Department will officially no longer schedule secondary employment of officers, nor will it handle payment for such employment.

Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill Tuesday that will outsource both duties to the North Carolina-based company Cover Your Assets.

The change comes after allegations that some officers received preferential treatment from the other officers who scheduled the moonlighting gigs.

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Pittsburgh Police
1:33 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Police Probing Ravenstahl Bodyguard's Hours

Pittsburgh police say they're reviewing the timecard records of an officer who formerly worked as a bodyguard for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and who testified against the mayor before a federal grand jury earlier this year.

At that time, the attorney for Fred Crawford said the investigation will eventually show that tax dollars were "wasted so the mayor could have a designated driver ... while he went out to bars."

That attorney, Robert Stewart, didn't return a call for comment Tuesday on the newest information about Crawford provided by acting Chief Regina McDonald.

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Pittsburgh Police
9:21 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Residents Voice Concerns About Police Misconduct, Racial Profiling

Pittsburgh residents brought their concerns about police misconduct to City Council Tuesday during an open forum.

Concerned citizens brought up many issues, including a lack of diversity on the police force, racial profiling and overly aggressive policing in communities with high crime rates.

Rashad Byrdsong, president and CEO of the Homewood Community Empowerment Association, said law-abiding citizens of his community are stuck in a difficult situation.

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Public Safety
5:27 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Allegheny County DA Wants More Technology For Police Force

The Allegheny County District Attorney called for an increase in the use of video cameras in law enforcement Monday.

Stephen Zappala said cameras add an extra level of objectivity to the police force.

Zappala said video cameras in police vehicles reduced legal complaints against police officers across the county by 90 percent.

“Every time that somebody sues a municipality on a one-on-one stop,” he said, “it costs us money as taxpayers. We refer to it legally as contingent liabilities … When you introduce objective evidence, that changes substantially.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:55 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Why Does the Pittsburgh Police Residency Requirement Matter?

Commander Rashall Brackney of the Pittsburgh police speaks with protesters in the Hill District
Credit South / Pittsburgh for Trayvon

A group of Pittsburghers gathered in the Hill District two weeks ago to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman and to show their disdain for the American legal system. Commander Rashall Brackney was one of the officers who patrolled the demonstration.  The protestors spoke with Brackney throughout the evening, and it became evident that she had personal connections with many of the men and women sitting in the street.  She negotiated with the group on many issues and the protest continued peacefully. 

City Paper Editor Chris Potter wrote in his op-ed “Hitting Home,” that “her ties clearly helped defuse tensions on Centre Avenue that night.”

Brackney is a resident of the city of Pittsburgh and Potter points to this fact as an important element of the peaceful demonstration that night.  She had connections in the community in which she lived and therefore was able to deal with a potentially tumultuous situation in a calm manner.  But the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in the city of Pittsburgh says that lifting the standing residency requirement for officers would make recruitment and retention easier, but many taxpayers feel differently.

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police residency
4:59 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Public Has Say On Requiring Police to Live in City

A dozen speakers came out today to express their opinions about whether city police should be required to live inside the City of Pittsburgh - with a unanimous “yes.”

The public hearing was held on Councilman Ricky Burgess’s proposal to put the police residency issue on the November 5 ballot.

Those who testified all argued the same point - how could the police properly protect them when they don’t even know them.

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Public Safety
2:42 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Should Pittsburgh Police Officers Have to Live in the City?

As of now, Pittsburgh police officers are required to live in the city. While locally appointed arbitrators will make their final decision in September as to whether the requirement for Pittsburgh police to live in the city should be lifted, City Councilman Ricky Burgess is sponsoring legislation to put the issue on the November ballot.
Credit Kaffeeeinstein / Flickr

The question of whether Pittsburgh police officers should be required to live in the city goes before arbitrators in September. 

But City Councilman Ricky Burgess believes that all voters in the city should have a say in the matter, not just the three members of the arbitration panel.

“I think that the arbitration, whatever the results are, will probably be appealed and come before a judge,” said Burgess, who is sponsoring legislation to put the issue on the November ballot.

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City Government
3:53 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Ravenstahl Wants Police to Stay in City

While locally appointed arbitrators will make their final decision in September as to whether the requirement for Pittsburgh police to live in the city should be lifted, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl already has his answer: No.

Ravenstahl said he believes the city police should stay where they are.

“I think it’s important for them to be in the neighborhoods in which they patrol," Ravenstahl said. "The residents feel safer when they have a police officer living in their community. It seems to me that it’s working now, and there’s no need to change it.”

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Community
3:11 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Zappala Withdraws Charges Against Pittsburgh Teacher

A day before a scheduled preliminary hearing, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced he's dropping charges against a Pittsburgh teacher who was arrested outside a meeting about police/community relations.

Dennis Henderson, a 38-year-old teacher at the Manchester Academy Charter School, was arrested June 26 in Homewood after leaving a Community Empowerment Association meeting.  

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Public Safety
2:40 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Citizens Police Review Board Could Weigh in on Rules Before Implementation

Pittsburgh City Council gave unanimous preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) to review police regulations before they're implemented, rather than afterward.

The measure, sponsored by Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, will be put to a final vote on Tuesday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:55 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council This Week

Noah Brode is the City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

    

Last week, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to Councilman Ricky Burgess's bills to reform the police bureau's domestic violence response policies.  One bill pays for training under the "Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program," and the second bill changes the city code to reflect the new policies. A final vote comes Tuesday.

When receiving a 911 call regarding domestic violence, responders must ask the callers a series of questions to determine the risk of imminent harm to the victim. Afterward, the officers must offer to call a women's shelter to help the victim.

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Public Safety
2:13 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Pittsburgh Bomb Squad Busy with Anti-Theft Devices

Pittsburgh's bomb squad has been busy overnight responding to three reports of suspicious devices found along city streets that turned out to be loss-prevention devices, perhaps discarded as shoplifters drove away.

The first call came in just after 11 p.m. Thursday, and two more were reported Friday morning.

The plastic devices, which are equipped to beep and which hang from retail products by a small wire, were found wrapped in foil — which, at first, made them appear more suspicious.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:40 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Ka'Sandra Wade Legislation: How Should Police Respond to Calls for Help?

Can domestic violence legislation be enough to stop domestic violence? Should there be uniformity in the way police respond to 911 calls?
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr

This Wednesday, Pittsburgh City Council votes on legislation written in reaction to the tragic death of Ka’Sandra Wade. Police responded to Ka'Sandra's 911 call on the night of December 31st, 2012. But they left her home when her boyfriend came to the window and told them that everything was alright. That night Ka'Sandra's boyfriend killed her and later killed himself. The legislation up for a vote this week would impact the way police respond to domestic violence calls.

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Public Safety
7:42 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Ready to Welcome 4 New Dogs

A police dog on duty during the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit of 2009.
Credit Nigel Parry/Flickr

Although $7,000 may sound expensive for a German Shepherd puppy, it's not too bad of a price if you ask Pittsburgh Police Sergeant Chris Micknowski.

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Police
4:30 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Hope to Digitize Daily Activity Reports

A bill making its way through Pittsburgh City Council would allow the Bureau of Police to build a software system for filing digital versions of daily activity reports.

Each officer currently writes his or her daily reports by hand, which costs time and makes research difficult, according to John Warren, executive assistant to acting Pittsburgh police chief Regina McDonald.

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Public Safety
2:00 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Respond After Actual Pressure Cooker, Not Bomb, Delivered to City Building

Pittsburgh police responded to a report that a box labeled "pressure cooker" with a Massachusetts return address was delivered to a city office building — only to find it really was a pressure cooker, ordered by an employee.

Police Lt. Shirley Sloan said the police response Wednesday was born out of an abundance of caution in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

"It was really tense there for a while," Sloan said.

The FBI has said Monday's blasts were caused by homemade bombs crafted using pressure cookers.

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Pittsburgh
12:12 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Officer Shot in Shoulder, in Surgery

Pittsburgh police say an officer is in surgery after being shot in the shoulder while pursuing a suspect, who was also shot by police.

A police spokeswoman, Officer Diane Richard, says the officer is expected to recover.

Investigators say the shooting happened around 1:30 a.m. Thursday in the city's Homewood section when two officers on patrol when saw a car speed by.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:44 am
Mon April 8, 2013

City Council Update with Noah Brode

City and County Council reporter Noah Brode
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  Happy Monday! 90.5 WESA reporter, Noah Brode gives us our weekly update on Pittsburgh City Council.  More in the ongoing discussions of police fees for secondary detail work, funding for new police vehicles, and healthcare eligibility for dependents of city employees have all been major topics of discussion.  Noah also gives us reaction to County Council's decision last week to allow only lawyers to represent citizens in property reassessment appeals cases.

Pittsburgh City Council
3:30 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves $7.2M for New Vehicles, Police Cars

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approved a $7.2 million bill to purchase new police vehicles and other additions to the city fleet, setting up the legislation for a final vote next week.

For the Bureau of Police, the list includes 31 new patrol cars, 12 new police motorcycles, nine unmarked cars and four K-9 vehicles.

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Police
4:24 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl: Policeman in Taser Incident Should be Fired

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has threatened to fire a police detective who allegedly placed a stun gun against the neck of a man who fell down before he was arrested for public drunkenness on Saturday.

Detective Frank Rende was working an off-duty security detail on the South Side during Saturday's St. Patrick's Day weekend festivities when the incident occurred.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said tests show the stun gun wasn't fired, which supports Rende's version of the incident as spelled out in a criminal complaint against 27-year-old Mark Keyser.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:35 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council News with Noah

WESA City Council Reporter Noah Brode gives us an update on council legislation.
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us a weekly look at Pittsburgh City Council. We talk about how council members hope to clean up police accounts and improve police staffing and promotions.

Homestead Gang Violence
4:17 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

U.S. Attorney Announces Indictments of 'Uptown Crew'

Supervisory Special Agent Michael Christman speaks to reporters on Thursday, releasing details of a drug ring bust in Homewood. United States Attorney David Hickton is also pictured.
Credit Tim Camerato / 90.5 WESA

United States Attorney David Hickton announced the indictments of 34 people alleged to be part of Homestead’s “Uptown Crew” for violent offenses and the trafficking of heroin.

This morning, police arrested 29 of those charged in the criminal operation.

The investigation into the group was led by the FBI’s Safe Streets Taskforce beginning last year and implemented surveillance, control purchases, confidential tips and wiretapping to collect information on the gang.

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City Government
5:25 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Holds Off on Off-Duty Police Reimbursement

Pittsburgh City Council postponed voting on two bills sponsored by Councilwomen Theresa Kail-Smith and Darlene Harris that would create a "Secondary Employment Trust Fund" as a depository for money earned by police from off-duty jobs as well as create a flat reimbursement for that work.  The reimbursement would be taken out of the trust fund account.  

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