The Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN), in conjunction with the PIIN Public Safety Task Force, reaffirms our full support for the creation of a countywide citizens’ police review board, and we urge Allegheny County Council to pass this necessary legislation its meeting on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.
For far too long, people of color have lived in fear of police officers due to negative, and often violent, interactions with law enforcement. People of color have been persistently subjected to racial profiling, unprovoked physical assault, police brutality, and fatal officer-involved shootings. The high-profile police killings of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Antwon Rose, and far too many others, haunt our memories and they demand our action.
For years, PIIN has been working with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to address racism, reduce violence, and increase equity in how police resources are used for the protection of our communities. Our work has taught us time and time again that improving police-community relations is a deliberate and incremental process, but one that greatly benefits all of us. When residents are able to build trust with local law enforcement agencies and officers, we all win, and the fruits of our labor are evident in the lessening of recent negative incidents between the community and police in Pittsburgh.
If we are to make continued forward progress in the area of police-community relations, bold action is necessary. It is our belief that a civilian police review board is a positive step that will promote police accountability and transparency while deterring future police misconduct. We can’t rewrite history by keeping our policies, our practices, and our institutions the same. Please join us in urging Allegheny County Council to pass legislation establishing a countywide citizens’ police review board by contacting Council Chief of Staff, Ken Varhola, at 412-350-6490, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.