Neighborhood policing teams to expand existing practices


Mayor William Peduto’s administration and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police are implementing a new community policing program that will get its start in 18 neighborhoods citywide.

Commanders in each of the city’s six police zones will create a “Neighborhood/Area Specific Team” of officers and supervisors who will be dedicated to using best practices in Community Policing to reduce crime and create partnerships with residents. The program will debut in three neighborhoods in each of the six zones, for a total of 18 neighborhoods.

Officers working in the 18 neighborhoods will complement existing Police already patrolling each neighborhood, and provide opportunities for residents to get to know officers personally, and work with Police to address neighborhood issues.

Zone commanders will set specific missions and goals for the community policing teams and hold quarterly meetings with them to review their results.

“Pittsburgh is already a national model for community policing initiatives, and we owe it to our residents citywide to keep innovating on the ways we address crime, and make Pittsburgh a safe place for all,” Mayor Peduto said.

The Police Bureau will assess the success of the initiative in the first 18 neighborhoods, with hopes of expanding it elsewhere in the city.

“This is just another step that builds upon our community-oriented philosophy. Policing is about law enforcement, and having trusting and constructive relationships with the community is vital to enforcing the law and serving others,” said Chief Scott Schubert.

The selected neighborhoods are:

  • Zone 1: Brightwood, East Allegheny, Troy Hill
  • Zone 2: Downtown, Middle Hill and Uptown
  • Zone 3: Allentown, Carrick, Knoxville
  • Zone 4: Hazelwood, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill
  • Zone 5: East Hills, Homewood, Lincoln-Lemington
  • Zone 6: Beechview, Elliott, Sheraden

The announcement comes as Mayor Peduto this morning is swearing-in nearly 30 new police recruits. Counting recruits, police staffing is currently 912 officers, which makes for the largest Pittsburgh Police force in 15 years.

Further background from Chief Schubert on the Neighborhood/Area Specific Team initiative is below:

To activate each Neighborhood Specific Team the Zone Commander will solicit, interview and select one officer to staff each of his or her 3 Community Impact Designated Neighborhoods.  The candidate officers will be assessed for their community engagement experience, problem solving initiative and reputation as community builders through their style of policing.  Communication skills will be prioritized in the selection process. Once selected, these officers will work as a member of a team consisting of Zone Community Resource Officers, Plainclothes Detectives, and Community Response Units.

Additionally, the Zone Commander will assign a sergeant to directly supervise the officers and facilitate an introduction to the specific neighborhood community residents and  assessment of the specific neighborhood challenges. The Zone Commander will set a neighborhood specific mission and tangible goals for the assigned officer and team. The team will report back to the Commander and lessons will be collected in furtherance of  continuous learning and improvement.

Each Zone Commander will invest in each selected neighborhood officer with training, contacts, and resources to set the officer up for success in each neighborhood.  Each officer will join with PBP Crime Analysis  and Intelligence units to use data and information in planning specific crime reduction strategies and plans. Each Officer will also work closely with the DPS Public Information Officers to promote the efforts within the neighborhood and to  develop a positive vision for  growth of the neighborhood.

The neighborhood officer will be available,  join, and participate with existing community groups, special events, human resource opportunities, faith- and school based engagement as well as merchant and business activities. A team approach will be presented and encouraged to all stakeholders. The neighborhood officer will facilitate mediation of conflicts and  correct misinformation among community members. The officer will be available to flex his or her shift hours to meet reasonable community demands in the course of the assignment.

The officer will account for his or her community hours toward goal achievement and tangible results will be reviewed quarterly with the Zone Commander with the team. The Zone Commander will make adjustments to the assignment and ensure resources are sufficient and effective toward specific problem solving for the neighborhood.

As no neighborhood is an island, the success of this program is foundationally dependent upon the support of the entire PBP organization. Internal support through reliable communication and inclusiveness in the problem solving strategies will be the key to success.

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