Pittsburgh Expands List of Calls Requiring Officer Response

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Pittsburgh police will respond in person to every call for simple assault, harassment or terrorism threats under new limits imposed yesterday on the types of complaints that responders are allowed to handle only by phone, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Public safety director Wendell Hissrich made the adjustments after a closed-door City Council briefing on the police bureau’s response practices.

Police Chief Cameron McLay ordered last month that officers, under select circumstances, could refuse to send officers to 14 types of calls, including simple assaults, harassment complaints and some burglary reports. The idea was to free officers to do more proactive policing, McLay said. Hissrich said he understood where the chief “is coming from” and that a phone-only response makes sense for certain complaints, including property crimes. “The risk in crimes against persons is concerning,” Hissrich said.  “My concern is, where is the guidance for the call takers to define simple assault, harassment and terroristic threats?” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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