When looking at Allegheny County’s efforts to combat community violence—especially in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs and the Mon Valley—people noticed that a large number of county police were assigned not to high crime areas, but to patrol county parks.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald noticed that too.
“About ¼ of the force were stationed in the parks. So we’ve redeployed 45 of them to various taskforce operations with the district attorney, state and federal authorities,” he told the New Pittsburgh Courier’s editorial board Feb. 11. “These are highly trained officers and investigators who really weren’t putting their talents to the best use. Now they can.”
Joined by County Manager William McKain, Solicitor Andrew Szefi, Chief of Staff Jennifer Liptak, Communications Director Amie Downs and Executive Assistant Austin Davis, Fitzgerald said he wants the county to be more proactive in combating the drug and gun violence plaguing the county’s poor and Black communities.
“Historically, we provide the investigative, analytical expertise most municipalities don’t have, almost all of it after-the-fact,” he said. “Now we can’t just barge into a town and take over, nor would we want to. But we’ve carved out a sex-assault taskforce, cyber, and we’re being more proactive.”