Legislators Introduce Police And Community Relation Reform

Use of force training and diversity education headline the package of bills

Shelby Cassesse
September 13, 2018 - 4:31 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - As a direct result of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II by an East Pittsburgh Police Officer, legislators from Pittsburgh have introduced a package of bills to improve police and community relations. 

Introduced Tuesday by Senators Jay Costa, Wayne Fontana, Jim Brewster and Representatives Jake Wheatley, Ed Gainey and Austin Davis, the legislation centers on a three-prong approach, including police and administration management, community relations and event response. 

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1. Police Administration and Management

  • Municipal Police Officer Education and Training Commission Improvements
  • Improved Police Pay
  • Regional Policing Incentive Program and Study

2. Community Relations

  • Professional Oversight and Policy Development Board
  • Change the Standard for Police Using Deadly Force
  • Police Diversity Recruitment
  • Professional Oversight and Policy Development Board

3. Event Response

  • Police Shooting Response Team
  • Special Prosecutor

Sen. Costa said it was important to focus on extra police training.

"It would require that we work to improve the training provided to the municipal police officers to include cultural awareness and diversity sensitivity training, specifically including situational de-escalation tactics, and also looking at use of force modification."

Rep. Gainey said the legislation is not intended to point fingers at either side, but rather improve relations between them. He cited police officers growing up with a lack of diversity as another reason for additional training. 

"All of us are Americans, and we should all understand one another. If you're going to take an oath to be an officer, then you should make sure that you understand the culture and neighborhood in which you work in."