South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Acting commander takes over temporarily at Zone 3 station

 


The June 15 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting began with the news that Lt. Lori McCartney was the zone’s acting commander.

The former Zone 3 Commander, Larry Scirotto, was moved two weeks ago to head the Major Crimes division.

He replaces Major Crimes commander RaShall Brackney, who left the bureau to become police chief at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Public safety council president Ken Wolfe said a Zone 3 commander must be named within a maximum of 70 days.

He said he would see if officials will come to a special meeting to talk about this issue but, generally, they do not make decisions based on public opinion. The zone now has its third commander in seven months.

In other business, a Mt. Washington resident said there was a shooting in Grandview Park by the school. A suspect was arrested and the gun seized.

The park’s bandstand is being vandalized. The resident said he would like to see more police officers on site.

A South Side resident said the “No Left Turn” sign at 18th and Josephine streets fell down and is now gone. No one paid attention to it anyway, she said.

The acting commander asked how the left turn prohibition came to be as police were not aware of it until signs were posted.

Mr. Wolfe said a councilman made the decision with no public input or notification.

Next, two Mt. Washington residents complained about truck drivers drinking on Grandview Ave., and speeding motorcycles.

A woman said she calls 911, and cannot sleep due to the noise from about 70 motorcycles.

“They keep coming and coming and coming,” she said.

The motorcyclists also screamed at tourists recently.

“They are a disgrace. They need to go,” a resident said.

Public safety council secretary Donna Williams said when calling 911 to report them, ask that it not be put on the scanner for anyone to hear. That way the motorcyclists will not know the police are on their way and take off.

Lt. McCartney said she would tell officers drinking is an issue, but nothing can be done about the noise until the city ordinance is changed.

To a question about bike lanes, Lt. McCartney said riders must follow traffic rules. Some are reckless as they weave in and out of traffic.

An attendee said it will take someone getting hurt before bicyclers will obey the rules.

Mr. Wolfe said officers will ticket for biking and drinking.

Hundreds have been ticketed for not stopping at a stop sign on the trail in West Homestead, he said.

An attendee said pedestrians downtown and in Oakland are worse as they step out into traffic. Pedestrians dart in and out as do bikers, she said.

Next, Liz Style of the city’s Dept. of Public Safety said National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 4. To register your neighborhood’s event, visit: pittsburghpa.gov/publicsafety/nno/registration2.htm.

Participants will then receive public safety materials to hand out, and may request barricades and “no parking” signs at no charge.

The website also lists the names and phone numbers of commanders and community relations officers to contact who can help in arranging police equipment to visit a neighborhood event.

Animal Care and Control may also be contacted. Fire trucks can appear at events; contact information is on the website.

To a question of how to get mounted county police to attend an event, Ms. Style said she did not know. But if they want a canine to come, contact the local police commander.

A narcotics officer who stopped by the meeting said on every level, it is hard to control drugs as it is a “big money-making business.”

An attendee mentioned a narcotics kingpin from the North Side who recently brought the largest amount of cocaine ever to Pittsburgh. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Is 20 years the most he could have been given? was the question.

The officer said the sentence depends on the amount of drugs; the suspect’s history; and more.

To a question about graffiti, Mr. Wolfe said there are two types: graffiti and tagging, with the latter telling a story.

Shoes on a wire are also significant, he said. When residents spot it, they should call 311.

In announcements, the second Annual Burgh Bites barbeque will take place in Grandview Park from 2 to 6 p.m. on June 27. Tickets are $45 in advance, and $50 at the event.

At 5 p.m. on Aug. 23, the annual farm dinner will be held in the park, and featuring a five-course meal. Tickets are $100.

The South Side Food Fest will be held on the July 10-12 weekend. The family-friendly event will feature a sidewalk sale with food vendors, retailers, and other merchants.

The event would run from noon to 7 p.m. on each of the three days. No alcohol will be served outdoors.

Live free music that ends at 7 p.m. will take place on July 10-11 at the 18th St. parking lot.

Families and children will be the focus on Sunday, with child-friendly activities like a petting zone, balloons, and more.

A family-friendly kick-off event for National Night Out is scheduled for July 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Market Square, downtown.

In the evening’s final announcement, the annual “Communities Against Crime” will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 28 in the 2600 block of Brownsville Rd. The gathering is designed to show community support in the face of drug dealing and other crimes that impact the neighborhood’s quality of life.

The next public safety council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on July 20 in the Zone 3 police station.

 

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