CPRB Calls Leaked Police Memo “Prudent”

Directive for Detectives to Carry Riot Gear Called Precaution

Robert Mangino
April 19, 2018 - 7:02 pm
Police in Riot Gear

By Jennifer Bloodworth for NewsRadio 1020 KDKA

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Pittsburgh residents demonstrated concern after an internal Pittsburgh Police memo leaked Wednesday instructing plainclothes detectives to carry riot gear until further notice in preparation for possible pop up protests.

City officials say they received information that protests are planned in the event that President Donald Trump fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and issued the directive as a precaution.

Both Mayor Peduto and Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich have made and released statements stating this is not out of the ordinary within the department.

Residents remained skeptical, but Citizen Police Review board director Beth Pittinger told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Thursday that she doesn’t believe it’s an overreaction.

“It’s simply a matter of being proactive,” Pittinger said. “The overreaction comes if they were to show up on the street with a peaceful demonstration and they would be clad in riot gear.”

The email was meant for plainclothes detectives who are not usually in uniform and do not always have special gear at their disposal.

“I think it’s prudent that equipment be available to them should there be a situation that it was needed,” Pittinger said. “This is not telling them to wear their riot gear; this is telling them to have it readily available.”

Pittinger referenced demonstrations during the 2016 presidential election in which an officer was injured because he was not wearing appropriate gear, garnering concern that police were not adequately prepared for the situation.

“I think that we would expect our public safety employees, all of our staff to be prepared for the worst, but hoping and doing whatever they can to work toward a better outcome.”