Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto releases statement on police reform task force report

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On Monday, a task force commission by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto released its report of a months long study into police reform for the City's police department.

Mayor Peduto released a statement following the release of the report.

“This amazing work by the Taskforce is more than I ever could have hoped for, and I am humbled and thankful by their exhaustive work on the critical need to reimagine police work in Pittsburgh. As the report notes the work by a diverse group of civic leaders — from corporate, religious and philanthropic entities; unions; health care and community-based service organizations; grassroots activism; and the law — brings the breadth of knowledge and experience that was necessary to take this very complicated and important subject to task.

"Their independently produced recommendations are noted in the report under the focus areas of Eliminating Racial Disparities; Officer Wellness; Reimagining Policing; Recruitment, Training, Education and Hiring; Relations with Pittsburgh’s Fraternal Order of Police; Transparency and Accountability; Use of Force Changes Needed to Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Policy; and Use of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, “Flash-Bang” Devices and Other Less Lethal Methods of Crowd Control.

"These recommendations will be our guiding influence as we make changes to police policy and budgeting to restructure police operations to make them more community-driven, safe and supportive for all residents, especially our Black neighbors. With these recommendations we will make real changes to policing, backed up by data and research, to ensure equity, accountability and transparency for all.

"I must also thank Pittsburgh City Council for its initial changes to police methods already put into City law this year.

This report is only the latest step toward reform, following work we have already done and assistance we need from state and federal legislators. In June I created the Office of Community Health and Safety to redirect city resources to better meet community needs by housing social services, public health and social work experts who can assist first responders. I also called on Harrisburg to promote several police accountability and transparency reforms, and to make it easier for municipalities to immediately release body-worn camera footage.

"I have joined efforts led by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to engage with other city leaders nationwide as we together seek the best practices for reimagine how policing is performed across America, in many ways through the types of changes recommended in the Community Taskforce report.

"In sum, the Taskforce report is a model not only for Pittsburgh but the nation, and is a springboard for actions we must continue to take to protect Black lives.”

Peduto commissioned the task force to take a critical look at racial disparities and police tactics.