Public Safety

City Government
10:24 am
Sun December 14, 2014

CMU Students Present Privacy and Surveillance Report to Police Chief, Councilman

After voting in favor of a 2015 budget amendment that would speed up the timeline for deployment of body-worn cameras for police officers, Councilman Dan Gilman on Wednesday held a post-agenda meeting on surveillance and privacy.

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Public Safety
5:18 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Pittsburgh Police to Receive $100k State Grant to Investigate Gun & Gang Violence

Pittsburgh has seen 60 homicides in 2014, and more than a third of them were in Police Zone 5, which encompasses Homewood, Larimer, Highland Park, Stanton Heights, Bloomfield, and Friendship.

Now, with the help of the state, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is set to pump nearly $100,000 into an ongoing investigation into gun and gang violence, specifically in Homewood and neighboring Wilkinsburg.

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Public Safety
3:09 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

After Nearly 40 Years at Pittsburgh EMS, Mark Bocian To Become Chief

After two years as acting chief, City Council will vote on Mark Bocian's appointment as EMS Chief on Tuesday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Mark Bocian has been Pittsburgh’s Acting Chief of  the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services for more than two years now, but City Council indicated in their Wednesday committee meeting that the wait for final confirmation is nearly over.

Bocian was met with resounding approval, as lawmaker after lawmaker extolled his virtues and thanked him for his service.

That service stretches back to 1975, when Bocian was hired as an Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT.

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Public Safety
10:49 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Experts Offer Tips On Keeping Halloween Safe For Trick-Or-Treaters

Safe and spooky: Health and safety advocates offer tips for keeping trick-or-treaters safe as they don their costumes and seek out Halloween candy.
Credit AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Halloween is supposed to be full of treats and colorful costumes and a few harmless scares, but health and safety advocates are warning about potential dangers for trick-or-treaters.

More than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle accidents on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Dave Phillips, spokesman for State Farm Insurance, said government data shows that 115 children nationwide have died from being struck by a vehicle on Halloween from 1990-2010.

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Public Safety
7:49 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Chronic County Budget Need Could Have State Solution

Another year, another Allegheny County budget proposal attempting to patch together funds for the Department of Emergency Services but the years of complaining by the County Executive might be about to bear fruit.

The 911 center operated last year at a loss of $6 million, according to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and though underfunding isn’t a new issue, he fears what lower than needed state funding could mean for the future.  Fitzgerald’s proposed $839.2 million budget for 2015 includes an increased cash match to plug the gap.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:49 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Discussing the Threat Posed by Aging Natural Gas Lines

Credit Consumers Energy / Flickr

In the last 10 years, accidents involving gas distribution lines killed more than 120 people and injured more than 500. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Mike Wereschagin discusses his recent series on the complications, dangers and costs of managing gas lines that are, in some cases, 100 years old.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Whistl Mobile Safety Device

Lifeshel CEO Jayon Wang shows Host Paul Guggenheimer the Whistl personal safety device.
Credit Jayon Wang / Lifeshel

The past year has seen a number of news stories about safety on college campuses. From Time magazine’s cover story on sexual assaults to a Forbes magazine article on the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to compile and publish data on campus crimes.

Campus safety was one of the motivating forces behind the development of the personal safety device Whistl. Jayon Wang, CEO and Co-founder of LifeShel, a device company creating smartphone cases, talks about Whistl.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon August 4, 2014

National Night Out Set for Tuesday

A firefighter shows kids what equipment he wears to respond to an emergency.
Kaye Burnet WESA

For 30 years the City of Pittsburgh has joined other communities across the country in celebrating National Night Out Against Crime, and this year the city is expanding its activities to get residents involved in their neighborhoods to make them safer and help deter crime.

“National Night Out started as the nation’s night out against crime, an opportunity for neighbors to get together, to know each other, to help each other out,” says Liz Style, coordinator for the Department of Public Safety's "Safer Together" outreach program.

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City Government
11:46 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Acting Public Safety Director Says He Has To Build Trust Between Police, Community

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one step closer to filling out his administration, as City Council Wednesday held hearings on the mayor’s recent Public Safety and Management & Budget appointments.

For more than two hours, Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar took notes as he was peppered with questions, concerns and suggestions from council members.

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City Government
5:39 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

New Rules, More Police Expected for Saturday Concert at PNC Park

Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar (speaking), Mayor Bill Peduto and Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa outline changes made in preparation for the upcoming Jason Aldean concert at PNC Park.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Another country concert is coming to Pittsburgh, and this time the city is preparing with new rules and increased law enforcement to gear up for Jason Aldean’s 38,000 fans at PNC Park this Saturday.

City officials announced Tuesday that parking lots will open at 2 p.m., instead of 11 a.m. and parking lot operators will be handing out trash and recycling bags to concert goers. The number of port-o-johns has been increased from 160 to 200. Tailgating once the concert begins is not permitted; anyone without a ticket at 7:30 p.m. will be asked to leave.

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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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Government & Politics
12:01 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

FBI Agent Selected As Pittsburgh Public Safety Chief

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday that he has chosen FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar as the city's new public safety director.

Bucar is currently assigned to the Washington, D.C. FBI office as a Supervisory Special Agent Section Chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Peduto points out that Bucar has experience overseeing the analysis of information associated with domestic and international terrorism at both the federal level and for New York City.

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Public Safety
10:41 am
Wed April 9, 2014

MAP: Multiple Injuries Reported At Franklin Regional High School

Officials say four students were believed to be the most seriously injured Wednesday morning by a fellow student who stabbed or slashed others at Forbes Regional Medical Center, injuring as many as 20.

Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens says not all of the 20 injured were cut by the knife, though most were. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the mayhem that ensued.

Public Safety
3:29 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day DUI Enforcement Going Full Force

State and local police will be conducing DUI checkpoints and roving patrols Saturday, following Pittsburgh's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The PA DUI Association reminds revelers that the amount of alcohol consumed can vary vastly by drinking, they said a Long Island iced tea can count as five alcoholic beverages.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

St. Patrick’s Day is Monday,, but the Steel City’s celebration will take place Saturday, starting with a parade and continuing with partying and revelry throughout the city.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced a joint DUI enforcement effort with the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the PA Liquor Control Board and local law enforcement.

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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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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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Winter Weather
12:14 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Emergency Responders Prepare for Deep Freeze

As the region begins to experience low temperatures not seen for nearly two decades, city and county officials are preparing for the worst.

Allegheny County has joined up with city officials to staff the Emergency Operations Center.

The Associated Press reports temperatures will continue to fall throughout the day and will not stop until hitting an expected low of nine below zero. Wind gusts of up to 30 miles an hour will result in wind chills of 31 below zero.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:50 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Ending Street Harassment in Pittsburgh

The four founders of the Pittsburgh chapter of Hollaback! are (Left to Right) Alison Winters, Akirah Robinson, Heather Dougherty, and Maggie Graham.
Credit Hollaback! Pittsburgh / http://pittsburgh.ihollaback.org/

Street harassment is a public form of sexual harassment that many people have witnessed, experienced, or engaged in.

For the most part, women are told to ignore cat calls and lewd behavior when walking down the street, but what if it happens on a daily basis?

Hollaback is an online initiative that was created in New York City to give people a place to vent or talk about their experiences with public harassment.

Now four Pittsburgh women have formed a local chapter of Hollaback.

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Public Safety
3:56 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

16-Year-Old Charged in Shooting of 3 Students Outside Brashear High School

A police officer is stationed on Crane Avenue following a shooting outside Brashear High School Wednesday that left three students injured.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Update: 7:39 a.m. Thursday

Pittsburgh police have charged a 16-year-old student with shooting three others outside a high school, allegedly in retaliation for a drug-related robbery inside the school last month.

None of the students wounded minutes after Brashear High School dismissed classes Wednesday has life-threatening injuries. Police say two were grazed by bullets, while one was shot in the arm and foot. Police say a fourth was targeted but not hurt.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Fri September 6, 2013

New Public Awareness Program Reminds Motorists to Share the Road With Cyclists

On July 20, 17-year-old Emily Jancart of Moon Township was struck and killed while riding her bike in that community.

This most recent bike-related death is the fifth in the Pittsburgh area in the last two years, prompting Bike Pittsburgh to sponsor advertisements around the city as part of a public awareness program to protect cyclists. 

According to Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker, they just want to remind motorists to be more alert while sharing the road with cyclists.

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Public Safety
1:56 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Drug Bust in Wilkinsburg Nets 18 Arrests and 13,500 Bags of Heroin

Eighteen people alleged to have ties to a violent drug gang based in Wilkinsburg have been arrested in what is being called a major bust. The suspected drug dealers were taken into custody as part of a joint effort involving the PA Attorney General's Organized Crime Section and the Allegheny County Police.

The "Operation Wilkinsburg Crew" was launched, according to Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in reaction to a series of homicides and shootings in Wilkinsburg believed to be related to heroin trafficking.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:28 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

The Future of Law Enforcement and Sentencing

Two major decisions on Monday may have a big impact on law enforcement.
Credit Victor Caselle/Flickr

Opponents of the New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy have long accused the program of having a racial bias. On Monday, their accusations were validated, as U.S. Judge District Shira Scheindlin ruled that the city’s implementation of such searches violated both the 4th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution.

According to University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, this ruling does not mean that there will be an end to the city’s stop-and-frisk policy. Instead, the policy must be altered so that it can fall in line with pre-existing standards for civilian searches.

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Public Safety
10:29 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Security at Public Meetings in Focus Following Township Shooting

The head of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors says the shooting this week at a township’s public meeting in Monroe County will refocus officials on safety and security.
    
Dave Sanko said additional funding to boost municipal safety measures would be nice, but it’s unlikely to come from the state, and it shouldn’t necessarily be the first thing on every township official’s mind.

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Public Safety
7:27 am
Mon July 29, 2013

As Technology Advances, 911 Centers Struggle to Keep Up

State lawmakers want Pennsylvanians to be able to contact 911 via Skype on their computers or Facetime on their smartphones, but they haven't figured out how to pay for it.

A hearing on Tuesday will bring county emergency responders into the mix as lawmakers discuss how to change the funding mechanisms for the statewide network of county-run 911 response centers.

Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Delaware) said the scheduled end of one revenue source for the centers is prompting the evaluation of the overall funding model.

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Public Safety
3:14 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Councilwoman Rudiak Calls for More Traffic Safety

Cars are buzzing by faster than the posted speed limit.

Groups of children are dodging cars trying to make it to the other side of the street.

All of this going on over the shoulder of Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

The councilwoman, joined by representatives from Bike Pittsburgh and community residents, stressed the need for an upgraded traffic safety system Wednesday outside of the Carrick Regency High Rise along Brownsville Road.

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Public Safety
10:32 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Harper Out as Pittsburgh Police Chief

Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper resigned from his post late Wednesday afternoon after Mayor Luke Ravenstahl learned some confidential information from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding their investigation into Harper.  Ravensthal asked Harper to leave – and he did.

“It’s a sad day and one that has been tough for a lot of people but we’ll pick up the pieces and we’ll move on,” said Ravensthal on Wednesday evening speaking to a roomful of reporters.

Ravenstahl wouldn’t say what information he learned but he said it was enough.

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