By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

New Division 4 campus won't be open for this winter announced at Zone 3


Last updated 12/2/2021 at 6:26pm

The Dept. of Public Works' (DPW) 4th Division in Knoxville will not be operational this winter. The expectation earlier this year had been that the new facility would open for winter, 2021.

That was one of the news items to emerge from the November Zoom monthly meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council (Z3PSC). It was the last meeting of 2021 as there will be no December meeting.

The new 4th Division facility is located on the same site on Bausman St. as the former facility.

DPW shut down the former facility five years ago when it became uninhabitable as the building was toxic and unhealthy, and no longer viable. Division 4 responsibilities have since been split between divisions 3 and 5.

The Division 4 buildings were demolished in 2018.

Bob Charland, of the Office of city Councilman Bruce Kraus, said issues with utilities and supply chain problems contributed to the delay in opening the new, pre-fabricated warehouse.

The meeting began with the crime trends update from Zone 3 Commander John Fisher.

In the South Side so far for November, there have been 57 calls, 5 arrests, 114 traffic citations (mostly parking), 56 vehicle tows, and five use-of-force reports. Zone 3 gets the most calls per year of all zones.

The commander said there had not been any firearms arrests over the past few months.

He also reported a Nov. 6 shooting in Allentown is under investigation in which a male was shot three times and survived. 

There was a robbery in Carrick on Nov. 11 by a female in a ski mask. The police know who she is, and will arrest.

On Nov. 8, the clerk and a robber could not open the register at the Dollar General on Warrington Ave. While the robber instead stole candy, he was subsequently arrested for four total robberies.

Next, an attendee asked about the possible passage of a bill by city council to prevent police from stopping drivers for minor violations like broken taillights.

Commander Fisher said his thought was that it was a "bad idea," in light of the state vehicular code stating that motorists may be stopped for these kinds of violations.

"Sometimes traffic stops lead to other things," he said, such as a drug arrest.

He said he cannot see how a municipal agency can override state law.

The attendee agreed with his stance, and that more discussion is needed by council.

Next, an attendee said his husband was almost hit head-on by a police car at the confusing Fernleaf St. and Arlington Ave. intersection. There have been many accidents at the intersection the last few years, he said.

Three of the streets have stop signs while the other has a sign stating "opposing traffic does not stop." The latter spot needs a stop sign, he said.

The attendee said the officer should have pulled his husband over, after which he would have filled the officer in on the perilous site.

The attendee said the point is that the intersection is very confusing, and if the police do not know about it, then it will remain tricky to everyone.

Commander Fisher said in the future to get the plate number to identify the officer. But he will look into it, and tell the supervisors to inform the officers about the intersection.

The commander also reported there was a brawl that day outside Brashear High School. A school police officer who tried to break it up was assaulted by one of the students.

The incident was largely over when the Pittsburgh Police arrived, he said.

An attendee said there is a video of the school officer punching the student.

On another topic, Commander Fisher said were 79 officer retirements/resignations this year, with nine more expected.

As a result, manpower is in a "crisis mode" in all zones, he said.

For that reason, there are sometimes not enough officers when patrols are asked for, or at special events.

He also reported Zone 3 will have two community relations officers next year.

Regarding problematic so-called "pop-up" or after-hours clubs, such as in the former American Legion building in the 1700 block of Arlington Ave., Commander Fisher said he contacts the building owners about their criminal and civil liability.

As a result, the owners sometimes shut down the sites, he said, as they did on Arlington Ave. and in South Side.

Z3PSC President Liz Style said loud music, disorderly conduct, and other infractions can result in a closure, so residents should call 911 to report such disturbances. It will also create a paper trail of complaints for future action.

In reports, Ms. Style read the report of Reverend Eileen O. Smith, director of the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace (SPCP), and who could not attend the evening's meeting.

Rev. Smith stated the 9th Annual Dare to Dream youth conference, which focuses on positive youth initiatives, would be held the next day. Youth talent and accomplishments are showcased, and scholarships awarded to academically outstanding high school students.

She also reported Richard Carrington, of the South Pittsburgh Peacemakers, would be receiving an award. The South Pittsburgh Peacemakers is an initiative of the SPCP.

Mr. Carrington, who was in attendance, said Rev. Smith is diligent in requesting state funds to keep the Peacemakers' work going. But, he asked, why are not the Peacemakers included in the funds earmarked for various Pittsburgh agencies?

Mr. Charland responded money will be coming to the Peacemakers, and he would provide Mr. Carrington with the information.

Next, state Rep. Jessica Benham, 36th District, reported that state Senate Bill 565 would allow permitless, concealed gun carry, and was passed. It also lowers the age from 21 to 18 to legally carry a gun.

"It makes firearms much more prevalent on our streets," she said.

Governor Wolf said he would veto it.

"There are too many guns on the street now," Commander Fisher said.

Rep. Benham also opposes House Bill 2046, which would result in more suspects not being able to make bail and therefore remain in jail.

She also reported she will host a panel with state LCB officials and others on what the state is doing with liquor enforcement and more, and options for nuisance bars.

It will be held at the City Theatre, 1300 Bingham St., at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. For more information, visit her on Facebook or Twitter.

In an update to last month's Z3PSC meeting with speaker Margie Schill, Brashear's communications and marketing manager, she provided this information: the Brashear CARES Center, 320 Brownsville Rd., is set to open in December.

The Brashear's Grab 'n Go Pantry, open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 4:30 pm, is now located at the Henry Kaufmann Center, 2201 Salisbury St. Call 412-620-8282 to schedule a pick-up at least 24 hours in advance.

Its new South Side office at 1926 Sarah St. is now open. Use the side entrance on 20th St. when visiting the space. Help is available there for utility assistance, senior living assistance, and case management services.

In other news, Black Women for Positive Change and Community Partners are hosting a teen mental health workshop via Zoom on January 8 at 10 am. For more information, visit:

The next Z3PSC meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Jan. 27, with fire safety the topic. The 2022 schedule will begin with meetings held via Zoom.


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