Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Independent Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Kevin Acklin says he will find $17 million dollars in the city budget to add 200 additional officers to the force. He says he will then send those new officers into the neighborhoods. Acklin made the announcement while outlining his public safety platform. He says that as he knocks on doors people are telling him that they only see police officers in their neighborhoods when a crime has been committed. Acklin says that is not good enough. The candidate says he will commit the officers to neighborhood patrols and to school and community events. He says he will also support neighborhood watches, domestic violence protection programs and programs for non-violent drug offenders. Acklin plans to create a neighborhood safety commission that will include public safety experts, active duty officers and community leaders. That commission will advise him on ways to make the neighborhoods safer. Acklin says he will also work to better equip officers with things such as personal GPS systems that allow dispatchers to better deploy the officers, better radios that work in “dead zones” and vests that can stop a bullet from an assault rifle. He also wants to provide incentives for officers to stay on the force. He says when an officer with 13 years of experience leaves for better compensation in the suburbs the city not only looses the experience but also $200-thousand in training. The candidate admits it will “hard work” to find the money in the budget but he says right now there are not enough officers on the force to keep the city safe. Acklin says he will seek more federal funding for the police department to help pay for his programs.