South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939


Contributing Writer 

Zone 3 council getting organized, starting to plan for future events

 

August 28, 2018

Robert Cavalier

Liz Style (far left) interm president of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council presides over the groups August meeting at the Zone 3 Police Station.

The Aug. 20 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council was the first group meeting presided over by Interim President Liz Style. She assumed the role last month following the resignation of Ken Wolfe.

Ms. Style will serve as president until the January elections.

The meeting began with Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon reporting that stolen cars continue to be a problem in the zone, with keys often left by owners in these vehicles. But other crime statistics are down, she said.

To a question of when abandoned cars will be removed in the Mt. Oliver City area, Commander Dixon said they cannot be moved if on private property.

"Over a year these things are going on," the attendee said.

She also said, in March, she gave city Councilman Bruce Kraus a list of 22 cars needing towed. Mr. Kraus said he was informed by his chief of staff that most have since been towed.

Four abandoned cars have been parked for over a year on 18th and Mt. Oliver streets.

"I know it takes time, but they have got to be moved soon," the attendee said.

Commander Dixon said she would talk to the officer in charge of abandoned vehicles and go over the list with him.

Another attendee said three cars on her Mt. Oliver City street are out of inspection.

Commander Dixon said they would be ticketed if they are pulled over while moving. They cannot be ticketed if parked, she said.

Next, Ms. Style reported she and others are working with the city's Dept. of Public Safety on what materials to make available to block watches. A website is also being planned, with a map.

The map being drawn will show where all of the block watches are located. That way, new residents can see if there is a block watch in their area. A decision must be made on what information will appear when someone clicks on a block watch on the map.

An eight-page "Build a Block Watch" kit is available on how to recruit, participate in National Night Out, and more has been developed.

The annual National Night Out that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie was held on Aug. 7.

National Night Out was celebrated with events in Allentown, Knoxville, South Side, Carrick, and elsewhere.

Two community resource officers stopped by many of them, Mr. Kraus said. They brought footballs, bubbles, games and more to engage youth.

"They are so good at what they do," he said.

To a question from Ms. Style of what can be done next year to make the event even better, an attendee suggested a city checklist on what city department to call for specific items, like "No Parking" signs.

Ms. Style said that maybe at next May's public safety council meeting they could have someone talk about how to register, receive city services, and more for National Night Out.

Ms. Style said the Zone 3 Public Safety Council has 2005 bylaws which have not always been followed. Attendees should sign in, she said, as those people who attend a certain number of meetings will be considered members.

Whereas January is when elections are held, according to the bylaws, she would like to hold them in February as January would then be earmarked to pull together everything that was done in the fall.

A new communications committee will compile a list of programs from 13 Zone 3 communities. The list will lead to inviting more people to Zone 3 meetings, which will necessitate a larger room, such as at the Knoxville Library.

The list will include schools, churches, community groups, the South Side Chamber of Commerce, and more. Ms. Style suggested holding large meetings a few times a year in which the various groups can share information. A newsletter may also be established.

In the meantime, the hope is to hold the September 17 meeting in a larger room at Knoxville Library. Events will be planned for 2019 at that meeting.

On October 17 a city-wide public safety council meeting will be held in the North Side.

The November meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council will be held on Nov. 12 instead of Thanksgiving week. There will be no December meeting.

Ms. Style said her plan is to produce agendas for every meeting. Attendees should let her know a week before a meeting if they want something added to the agenda.

"People will know that we're here and what we're doing," Ms. Style said.

To a question earlier in the meeting of how does the public safety council obtain money, Mr. Kraus said each public safety council will receive $2,000 if passed in the city budget.

The Zone 3 Public Safety Council also holds 50/50 raffles at some events in which it distributes information. The money goes to the public safety council.

At meeting's end, Mr. Kraus said the Carrick Library will be reopening on Oct. 20 following an extensive renovation.

About $13-$14 million has been invested in the three South Pittsburgh libraries. The Mt. Washington library will be next in 2019.

An attendee suggested holding more meetings among the three libraries.

In announcements, Pittsburgh Fall 2018 Citizen's Police Academy will begin Sept. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. The program will be held each Thursday for 15 weeks.

The location is Academic Hall, Point Park University, 201 Wood Street (Downtown).

The free academy offers a behind-the-scenes look at the processing of crimes, how police canines are used, and are exposed to various specialty police units.

Participants are also taught the basics of criminal law, search and seizure, patrol tactics, firearms, and more.

The application can be found at: http://pittsburghpa.gov/police/community-policing/index.html.

All applications must be received by Sept. 1.

For additional information, email: eric.kroll@pittsburghpa.gov, or john.tokarski@pittsburghpa.gov.

In other upcoming events, Pittsburgh's Fall 2018 Student Police Academy will be begin Oct. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. The program will be held each Wednesday for 10 weeks.

The location is Point Park University, 201 Wood Street (Downtown).

High school youth will train, learn, and experience what it is like to be a police officer in a simulated police academy. The program is free.

Students must complete an application/permission slip and send their application to: John Tokarski, City of Pittsburgh, Dept of Public Safety, Suite 400, City-County Building, 414 Grant St., Pittsburgh PA 15219. The deadline for receipt is Oct. 6.

The next Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting will be on Sept. 17.

 

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