April 18, 2013, Pittsburgh, PA – “Chronic and deliberate indifference,” is what Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto calls Public Safety director Michael Huss’ rejection of an innovative plan to put off-duty police officers on the streets to improve public safety on the South Side.
Over the past year and a half, Councilman Bruce Kraus worked with the Responsible Hospitality Institute to bring together South Side residents, bar and restaurant owners, neighborhood groups, community development corporations, police leadership, and the Fraternal Order of Police to finalize a pilot program that was to begin May 17. The plan would have paired 20 off-duty officers with 10 on-duty officers to patrol the neighborhood’s entertainment district. Businesses raised $250,000 for the program. It would not have cost the City of Pittsburgh an extra dime.
Huss cut the program without any conversation with those involved in the planning process.
“Councilman Peduto has supported me ever since I brought this initiative to the city,” explains Kraus. “He has attended meetings, he has offered advice, and he knows the positive change that will come of this effort.”
Huss reportedly said he decided not to allow the program because the city is trying to straighten out the secondary detail operation.
To that Peduto responds, “Why are the Penguins and the Steelers still allowed to have their secondary detail, but we can’t provide any resources to the South Side?”