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Pittsburgh City Council introduces bill that would allow organization to study police data for bias

Maria Anto
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh would partner with a nonprofit research organization to analyze Bureau of Police data for racial bias under legislation introduced Tuesday to City Council.

The city would share data on such areas of policing as vehicle and pedestrian stops, arrests and use of force with Policing Equity Inc, which uses advanced analytics to measure racial bias in policing. The goal is for the organization to produce an assessment and report that would help the city with "reaching and maintaining equitable policing in the city."

Councilor Corey O'Connor, who heads the public safety committee, said the bill is similar to one he and Councilor Erika Strassburger introduced last year that would create an interactive online portal where police data information could be found and updated regularly for the public to access and review.

"I think it's good to be open with the general public as to what's going on in their neighborhoods, in their city," O'Connor said. "As much data as we can share — there's a lot of people that love getting data, and there's others that aren't that interested — but also, data helps us analyze how to do things better as well."

During the meeting, Councilor Ricky Burgess also introduced a bill that would create a task force to develop a plan for infrastructure funds to make it more equitable. But some questioned how the task force would differ from a commission that O'Connor introduced after the Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed on Jan. 28. Council is expected to discuss the task force on Wednesday.

Also Tuesday, council passed outdoor dining legislation that would make that option more accessible for restaurants and retailers in the city.