Wednesday, February 16, 2011

City Councilman Hears from Community on Police Accountability

A Tuesday night hearing at the Shiloh Community Missionary Baptist Church in Homewood addressed upcoming legislation for more police transparency. Pittsburgh Councilman Ricky Burgess' bill would establish policy for off-duty police, and compel the Pittsburgh Police Bureau to produce an annual report on the make-up of the police force; any legal action against police officers; average response times; arrests by charge, race and gender by zone and specialized units; conviction rates and traffic stops as well as recruitment and retention.

Burgess says that a lot of people are interested in the duties and requirements of off-duty police officers. "I think there needs to be a clear policy that states what off duty police officers should and should not do, and what is the responsibility and the city's commitment to them so that both sides are clear. I think that recent events have lead us to need to have that process clarified."

He says that the majority of his constituents are behind him and that he has not yet heard from the opposition directly. Burgess is willing to make compromises to his legislation but believes that the conversation and public discussion is incredibly important.

Councilman Burgess' legislation was proposed after allegations of police brutality against 18 year old Jordan Miles, who was allegedly beaten by 3 plain clothed officers while walking to his grandmother's house in Homewood.

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