South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

City Council will form new Special Police Committee on Police Safety


April 21, 2009

In direct response to the tragedy in which three City of Pittsburgh police officers lost their lives, City Council President Doug Shields will be forming a special committee to recommend measures that will enhance the safety of Pittsburgh's police officer.

The committee will be chaired by Council Safety Chair Bruce Kraus and is expected to include representatives of the Pittsburgh Police Department, fraternal Order of Police and the Department of Public Safety. Mr. Kraus said the committee will sonsult with "the best and the brightest" in the country to insure the safety of the police officers.

Among the issues for review is enabling a radio feature in which an officer in distress would alert dispatch simply by pusing a button.

"Although our police radios are now capable of utilizing a panic button, this feature has not been activated," Mr. Shields said. "Why shouldn't we be using every tool available to protect the safety of our police officers?"

Councilman Shields said he is also concerned with the excessive fire power police face on the streets. He said the city should equip officers with more efficient semi-automatic weapons for situationns in which the public and police face imminent danger. Pittsburgh would not be the first city to upgrade its standard issued weaponry in response to violence. Los Angeles, Miami and Washington D.C. have already taken these steps to protect their police and citizens.

The formation of the committee and its charge will be formally announced at council's regularly scheduled Legislative meeting on Tuesday, April 21.


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