PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Fraternal Order of Police says the Jordan Miles incident has made officers more apprehensive – less willing to arrest those carrying illegal guns.
The union says the three officers involved have been found guilty in the court of public opinion.
“Look what happened to our three guys, they’re being prosecuted and they’ve never been to trial,” Chuck Hanlon of the FOP said. “In the court of public opinion, they’ve been nailed to the cross.”
The officers – Richard Ewing. Michael Saldutte and David Sisak – have been suspended pending the results a federal investigation, but the FOP says they’ve been left to twist in the wind by the city and that’s had a chilling effect on the rest of the force.
Last year, city police made 659 arrests for illegal gun possession, but through November of this year the number of arrests as fallen off sharply to 469.
At the same time, homicides in the city have climbed from 40 last year to 56 this year.
“You have 200 less guns taken off the street this year and it’s a direct cause of what happened to those three officers,” said Hanlon.
But Tuesday, City Councilman Ricky Burgess who represents the Homewood community said the Miles incident should not hamper police effectiveness.
“Certainly we want police to do what is necessary to seize guns across our city as I’ve said repeatedly; however, I also believe that there has to be a collaboration between the community and the police,” he said.
Vic Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the police for what he sees as the stopping and frisking people in high-crime, low-income neighborhoods without probable cause.
“If the police are harassing people for no reason that doesn’t help them fight crime and get guns off the street,” he said.