The Public Safety Task Force of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (of which I am a member) has been working to ensure violent confrontations between the police and residents of this city are things of the past. A hopeful sign has been a move by the Pittsburgh police department to add new modules to the training and retraining of its officers. The modules are: “Procedural Justice,” “Implicit Bias” and “Racial Reconciliation.” The first two have been implemented and the third is soon to follow.
When Mayor Bill Peduto hired former police Chief Cameron McLay two years ago, it had been just a couple of short months since the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. Across the nation, people were waking up to the reality that people of color are more than twice as likely to be shot by police than whites. Many were finally questioning how police officers operate in communities of color and the disparate treatment to which people of color are subjected.
In response to Police Chief Cameron McLay’s resignation, and in support of the important work he did to bridge the divide between the police and the community, the leaders of our Public Safety Task Force wrote a guest column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The fatal shooting of several police officers last week in Dallas has prompted Pittsburgh officials to come together to talk about building better relationships between police and the community.
On February 26th, PIIN convened a public hearing with Police Chief Cameron McLay to discuss effecting measurable improvements in public safety in Pittsburgh.