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Identity & Community

Officials Hope to Ease Community-Police Tensions with 'Safer Together' Initiative

A slew of city officials on Tuesday announced a new initiative that they hope will increase public safety and improve community-police relations.

Safer Together, the brainchild of Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess, has five similar goals to build relationships of respect, cooperation and trust within and between the Department of Public Safety and the community. It also aims improve education, oversight, monitoring, diversity, accountability and hiring practices for the department.

“We believe the Department of Public Safety must work in partnership with the citizens of the community to increase public safety, improve the quality of life and ensure the delivery of fair and impartial public safety services,” Burgess said.

The work at the community level will take place by community leaders and public safety officials.

“It’s a way for city government to partner with organizations that are on the ground floor in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Bill Peduto.

Some of the organizations the city will partner with are the Black Political Empowerment Network and clergy.

Police Chief Cameron McClay says he hopes this will improve community-police relations.

“The public safety challenges that are plaguing our communities, particularly our disadvantaged communities of color are problems that police alone cannot solve,” he said.