October 2, 2007 |

Police commander addresses Zone 3 Public Safety Council

The first topic for Pittsburgh Police Commander Larry Ross at the Zone 3 Public Safety Council's September meeting was the anticipated splitting up of Zone 3 at the end of the year.

"More likely than not, the new zone will be called Zone 6," he said. As it stands now, the zone will be divided predominately along the lines of the old Zone 4 with the exceptions that Brookline, Beechview, Mount Washington, Duquesne Heights and Banksville will stay with Zone 3.

Zone 3 is expected to lose some officers to the new Zone 6, but both zones will be supplemented with officers coming out of the Police Academy. The Traffic and Special Deployment divisions will be staying in the West End and will have about 80 total officers. About 143 officers are currently stationed at Zone 3.

Commander Ross also urged all residents in the zone to sign up for the CitizenObserver program (www. CitizenObserver.com) on the Internet. "You're all able to get in there now."

The commander fielded questions from the audience. A Brookline resident questioned why Mount Oliver Borough police were dispatched to Saint Clair Village for a call that gunshots were heard.

"The criminals know that there are no police (in an area) and they're taking advantage," Commander Ross prefaced his remarks.

He said he recalled the specific call the man referenced. He explained that when the call came in two city police cars were responding, but that a Mount Oliver police supervisor was in the area and offered to check out the situation.

Upon arrival at the scene, a witness told the officer that there were no shots fired. The Mount Oliver officer reported back what the witness said and the city cars were called off.

Commander Ross lamented the low number of officers out there, but noted that the mayor has promised to add beat officers to each zone.

"We need to push to hire more officers," he said. "We only have so many guys out there."

"There are times when we've had only four officers show up for roll call. Guys are getting overworked, they aren't even going for overtime and it's there."

The commander was asked about if the cars had specific sectors they have to patrol.

"Our guys are assigned patrol sectors, but sometimes they have to leave that area and sometimes they'll be leaving the sector for hours."

There will be no Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting in October. Instead, there will be a city-wide public safety meeting on October 10 at the Kingsley Community Center, 6435 Frankstown Ave. at East Liberty Blvd.

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