McLay gets warm welcome at third community conversation

RickAdams
RICK ADAMS

McLay displayed an updated version of the pamphlet “You and the Police” which had originally been compiled with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Black Political Empowerment Association, the Bureau of Police, University of Pittsburgh Law School and the Citizens Police Review Board.
“The bottom line is you do have to obey the lawful orders of a police officer,” he said.
Issues as to the lawfulness of a given order can be sorted out later, as the pamphlet recommends.
Several questions covered issues McLay had previously addressed: he repeated that his only leeway in increasing diversity on the force is through recruiting—and he can only do that by repairing the police/community schism.
“We’re not going to get Black kids to consider coming to work for us if they think everybody here hates them,” he said.
RevBrendaGregg
REV. BRENDA GREGG

But it goes the other way too, he said, asking Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant what kind of interactions were helping some officers shed the notion that Black kids are criminals. She pointed to a training initiative called disproportionate Minority Contract that pairs officers with CISP juvenile probation program.
“They discuss police interaction and it teaches the officers that, hey, these are kids—and kids don’t think like adults,” she said. “It’s one of the best trainings we’ve ever had.”
McLay was again asked about having officer David Derbish still on the street when he is the subject of a federal inquiry following the Leon Ford shooting, and again he said he could not comment.
He noted the percentage of police guilty of racial bias and excessive use of force is between 3 percent and 5 percent, that is the same percentage, he said, of the community driving the drug and gun violence.
He said he is going to increase cultural sensitivity training, as well as training to address mentally ill citizens who are acting violently, and he said he plans to incorporate ethics components within all the training regimens at the police academy.
It was clear that McLay is getting more comfortable with his audiences, as was evidenced when he was asked whether or not the bureau was getting military surplus armaments.
“Do we have military surplus? No, we use our own money to buy the good stuff,” he said, but added. “Seriously, if you’re asking about equipment, you are looking at the wrong thing. Are there times when we would need it? Yeah—if properly deployed.”
Bush and Stevens said they have been impressed with how McLay and the bureau have conducted themselves since he arrived. McLay downplayed that.
“All of this was going on here before me, you just didn’t hear about it,” he said. “This department isn’t broken, there’s a lot of good work going on here.”
(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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