Police Funding and Increase Community Investment
A new report urges the city and county to decenter policing and reimagine the concept of public health and safety. The Coalition to Reimagine Public Safety released the report and discussed the recommendations at a press conference on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Through a series of working sessions, town hall meetings, and input opportunities, coalition members devised a plan to build safe, healthy, and thriving neighborhoods. The model centers community members and their needs and further develops strategies to eliminate the use of police force, overcriminalization, and over-incarceration.
In the past, incidents of police brutality have fueled a movement across the country to reimagine safety and security. From Bruce Kelly Jr. to Antwon Rose II to Romir Talley, deaths at the hands of police officers became the center of community and policy discussions. At the same time, Allegheny County’s probation and incarceration rates for Black youth rose above the national average. The long-term impacts of systemic and structural racism, coupled with failed public policy, have created an immediate need for alternatives to policing. The Coalition to Reimagine Public Safety was formed to address these issues.
The report comes amid recent FBI findings that Pittsburgh is a focal point for white supremacy and extremists and Allegheny County’s recognition of racism being a public health crisis, which causes many Black and Brown people to feel unsafe in their city. In 2019, Black people made up only 23.2% of Pittsburgh’s population, and yet they made up 43.6% of individuals involved in traffic stops; 71.4% of all frisks; 69% of individuals subject to warrantless search and seizures; and 63% of all arrests conducted by the Pittsburgh Police. The Abolitionist Law Center report found that the stark disparities target the innocent and constitute racial apartheid, a system of legislation that upholds segregationist policies.
Coalition members included representatives from the Abolitionist Law Center, Allegheny Health Network Center for Inclusion Health, Antwon Rose II Foundation, Coalition Against Predictive Policing, East End Therapists, Leon Ford Speaks, Prevention Point Pittsburgh, Take Action Mon Valley, and other community partners. The Alliance for Police Accountability and 1Hood Media leads the group.
- Brandi Fisher, Alliance for Police Accountability
- Jasiri X, 1Hood Media
- Alice Bell, Prevention Point Pittsburgh
- Michelle Kenney, Antwon Rose II Foundation
- Robert Lawrence, East End Therapists
- Dan Palka, Allegheny Health Network Center for Inclusion Health
- Justin Laing, Hillombo LLC (Facilitator)
The Coalition to Reimagine Public Safety begins to address many of the above issues. The work was made possible by financial support from The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Staunton Farm Foundation.