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Pittsburgh police will only respond to calls of in-progress emergencies as part of new staffing plan

Chief Larry Scirotto aims to reduce the bureau’s call volume from 200,000 calls to 50,000 calls this year


Photo/Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Facebook page

By Joanna Putman

PITTSBURGH —The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has implemented a new response policy. Beginning March 11, officers will only respond to calls of in-progress emergencies, WPXI reported.

The policy is part of Chief Larry Scirotto’s efforts to reduce the bureau’s call volume from about 200,000 calls to about 50,000 calls this year, according to the report. Calls for criminal mischief, theft, harassment and many others will be handled by the telephone reporting unit or by online reporting.

“That allows our officers to be engaged in community in a way, now they’re at the YMCA instead of sitting on the 10th Street bypass with a bike complaint,” Scirotto stated.

The bureau will offload most parking issues to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, according to the report. It will remove desk officers from precincts between the hours of 3 a.m.-7 a.m., and reduce the number of officers on overnight shifts.

“The staffing plan designed by police command is a direct response to a seriously understaffed police department,” said Bob Swartzwelder, FOP union President. “Only time will tell if the plan works or the Chief will need to pivot and modify his plan quickly. The FOP will be watching carefully for any contract violations that develop especially when non-emergency events come up such as St. Patrick’s Day, parades, large concerts, July 4th etc. In short, the FOP believes that the police department is seriously over-committed and under-resourced.”