RESPONSE OF CALLS – Pittsburgh Police Alter Phone Reporting Policy Amid Criticism

Pittsburgh Police Alter Phone Reporting Policy Amid Criticism

In response to public outcry, particularly from domestic abuse protection activists, Pittsburg Police Chief Cameron McLay was forced to modify a newly instituted policy prohibiting officers in-person service calls to handle reports of 14 types of crimes which had included criminal mischief, simple assault, harassment and terroristic threats. Dispatchers were instructed to refer those to a Telephone Reporting Unit staffed by clerks. The is struggling to deal with inability to replace retired officers – current force is about 850, down from 900 budgeted positions each year. The chief said the intent behind the policy change is to free officers from making home visits to take a report that will probably be shipped to an insurance company. Pittsburgh has been taking reports by phone of minor incidents, such as criminal mischief or non-reportable vehicle accidents with no injuries, since 2005.

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