Pittsburgh activists push for creation of civilian police oversight board – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A group of organizations and residents are pushing for the creation of a Civilian Police Oversight Council in Pittsburgh.

It would be the first of its kind in the country.

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The activist group is calling it a campaign for community control of the police. The activists want the creation of a democratically elected civilian police control board. The nine-person council would have full authority over the Pittsburgh Police Bureau.

The group is hoping to get enough signatures for its petition to get the issue on the November ballot.

“It’s not an anti-policing thing. It’s about building a new city and we need communities to feel comfortable with policing and maintaining order in our community and what n ‘is not the case now and it never has been, “said Randall Taylor, who is part of the campaign.

The board would be able to hire, fire, investigate and discipline police officers. The council could establish police policies and regulations on the department. He could approve and reject budgets and purchases. Finally, the council could negotiate and approve contracts with police unions.

“Will be in charge of all aspects of policing, hiring, firing, discipline, budget, but especially decisions made about how, where and when we monitor our communities,” Taylor said.

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This board would replace the current Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board. The citizens would be the ones who voted on who should be on the council.

Activists gathered at Freedom Corner on Thursday evening and collected signatures for a petition.

“Currently, the only people who have a say in the functioning of the police in the city are the mayor and the FOP. We really think it should be diverse, that the community deserves to have a say in how the police work, ”said Dakota Castro-Jarrett, who is participating in this campaign.

Organizers say the police review board would hold police accountable and create more transparency.

“We are the first in the country to initiate this and if it passes it will not only be historic for the city of Pittsburgh but for the nation. We think other cities will follow Pittsburgh’s model, ”Taylor said.

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The coalition hopes to get at least 25,000 signatures for its petition, double the amount needed to get the issue of community policing oversight on the ballot.

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