By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Zone 3 council will take to the road in the future


March 27, 2018

The March 19 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council featured an update on the 20th annual “Biscuits Bingo” fundraiser for local animal organizations held on March 3 and presented by the Pittsburgh Police.

Officials in attendance at the meeting included Assistant Police Chief Anna Kudrav, Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon, and community relations Officer Christine Luffey; Council members Bruce Kraus and Anthony Coghill; and nighttime economy coordinator Allison Harnden.

“We hit it out of the park this time,” Officer Luffey reported about Biscuits Bingo, which raised $42,633 for nine animal groups.

It was the highest total yet. The first year $5,000 was raised. Last year’s total was $35,421.

“It has exceeded my expectations,” she said. Almost one-half million dollars has been raised throughout the years with Biscuits Bingo.

The event was held at the IBEW Hall Local #5, 5 Hot Metal St., South Side. As it was sold out, an attendee suggested moving it to a bigger venue next year.

Officer Luffey said if it is moved there might be a rental fee they do not currently have as the IBEW donates the space.

Mr. Kraus said if she decides to relocate he and others will help.

The meeting began with president Ken Wolfe reminding everyone the Zone 3 meetings will be hitting the road, with the tentative sites for future meetings being Beltzhoover, Knoxville, and Carrick.

The Zone 3 meetings will not be held in April or October due to city-wide public safety zone council meetings on April 18 and Oct. 17. Those meetings will be held in Teamsters Hall in Lawrenceville beginning with food at 6 p.m.

Mr. Wolfe said he is looking for volunteers to help with recognition in the zone on these days: May 4, International Firefighters’ Day; May 13-19, National Police Week; and May 20-26, National EMS Week.

He would like to do something for all three groups of city personnel. The police and EMS will choose a day that is best for everyone.

Next, to a question about what constitutes disruptive properties, Commander Dixon said it is based on the activity at a residence and not the frequency of calls. An officer at a house daily does not necessarily mean it is a disruptive property, she said.

According to city code, a disruptive activity is defined as a violation of any city/state ordinances and statutes, such as cruelty to animals, riot, disorderly conduct, gambling, prostitution, scattering rubbish, selling or furnishing alcohol to minors, dogs at large, and more.

A property is declared disruptive after three violations within a one-year period.

To question if it is okay to spray over graffiti on one’s street, the commander said no. Instead, it should be reported to 311, after which a police officer will come out.

Next, Mr. Kraus said funding for ShotSpotter would be voted on by council. The gunshot detection technology locates and alerts law enforcement about gunfire incidents in neighborhoods as they occur.

It better protects officers; enhances the likelihood to make arrests and recover evidence; directs police to crime scenes in time to aid victims; and more.

Mr. Kraus said he will advocate for its deployment in the Hilltop neighborhoods.

To a question if people should still call 911 upon hearing gunshots, Commander Dixon said yes.

Mr. Kraus then introduced Ms. Harnden. He called the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the South Side the prior Saturday “night and day” since the arrival of Ms. Harnden and Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.

All he has heard about the March 17 celebration was good. Adding to the great reviews was the high visibility of police on both the main streets and the side streets, he said.

He also relayed how he and Ms. Harnden were not allowed in a restaurant during the celebration due to its occupancy rate. They eventually were let in after a wait, for which they thanked the restaurant personnel for adhering to the occupancy regulations.

Next, a Knoxville resident said a blitz has been going on in her neighborhood for the past three years, and for which she is grateful. A recent email she received contained the addresses of houses she hopes get bulldozed.

“At least they’re on the list,” she said.

Mr. Kraus said he and his chief of staff, Neil Manganaro, inventoried Knoxville and found 91 spots of illegal dumping.

Public Works then removed 138 tons of dumping, including 205 tires and 42 televisions.

He wants to continue the process in other South neighborhoods.

Mr. Kraus said trash is collected in alleyways. It is only preliminary, but he asked the city’s operations director, Guy Costa, if it should be moved to the front of streets. The alleys are too narrow for trucks and get torn apart.

Next, an attendee asked about a new clinic that opened on Brownsville Rd. in Carrick. He said no one knew it was coming.

Mr. Coghill said his office had many concerns and talked with the person in charge. He said he will report on it at the next Carrick Block Watch meeting.

But prescriptions can be written there, such as for suboxone, which has the potential to reduce symptoms of opiate addiction and withdrawal. But addiction to it has caused its own epidemic.

“They abuse the use of it,” an attendee said of addicts.

Mr. Coghill said the establishment can open as there are no zoning issues. But if there are violations “we will be all over it,” he said.

The next Zone 3 meeting will be on May 21 at a site to be determined.


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