Thursday, September 24, 2009

City Public Safety Assessment Released

Pittsburgh Public Safety officials met with reporters last night as the protests outside of the Phipps were still underway. At that time Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said between 17 and 19 arrests had been made. Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Michael Huss says he was proud of the way his officers acted and he was pleased with how well the officers from out of town were trained. He says they all worked together quiet well. Huss says no officers were hurt while making arrests but one did have a seizure and another hurt his back while lifting a heavy object not related to the protests. Harper noted that no protesters taken into custody were injured. Harper says of the 13 protests staged Thursday (before the Phipps event), only one became problematic. That was the unpermitted march that began in Lawrenceville and then bounced around through several neighborhoods. Chief Harper says the protesters were fired upon using either rubber bullets or beanbags and “C-U gas in the vapor form” in efforts to disperse the crowd. Pittsburgh police became the first police force in the United State to use a “sonic device” as a means of crowd control. The city recently purchased the truck-mounted devices that emit a high-pitched sound intended to make protesters very uncomfortable. Harper says he was happy with its effectiveness. A damage report listed 10 broken windows in the Boston Market on Baum Blvd. Also on Baum, a window was broken in the BMW showroom, and a window was broken at a KFC. The door of the PNC Bank on Liberty in Bloomfield was also broken, and spray paint was tagged on a building on South Millville Ave. Police responded to calls for ten suspicious packages, but none posed a danger.
Huss thanked the citizens of Pittsburgh for helping police during the protests. He says, “The city will not tolerate this type of illegal behavior. The city has a very robust public safety plan.” He says, “When things get out of hand, they will respond quickly and swiftly and take whatever actions are necessary.”
Allegheny County Emergency Services Director Robert Full says countywide 911 calls were slightly slower Thursday than normal.

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