PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The organization, The Hazelwood Initiative, had a public safety forum scheduled weeks before Monday’s fatal shooting in Glen Hazel.

But that homicide, the first in Zone 4 in nearly two years, according to Commander Kathy Degler, was fresh on the minds of dozens of residents who came out to the Propel Charter School auditorium.

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A panel of city representatives addressed the crowd, including new Police Chief Cameron McLay.

He tried to ease the growing tensions that are present in several communities as the city’s crime rate continues to climb.

He says one of his first initiatives is to focus on community oriented policing. The chief made himself available to the media after the meeting. KDKA’s Kym Gable talked to him about that approach.

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Kym Gable: “You were addressing a crowd tonight that wanted specific answers. What’s the next step?”

Chief McLay: “My commanders need to know the stakeholders and leaders in each one of their communities. We need to set up the lines of communication and dialogue so we start to understand the issues of crime and fear and disorder from the public’s perspective and redevelop a trust-based relationship with those community members so they are comfortable and willing to share information with us.”

Kym Gable: “Are you personally going to make sure the commanders sit down with community leaders … physically meeting and talking?”

Chief McLay: “That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m getting to know who the community leaders are. I like the energy we got from the room. I like that. That’s passion. It shows that they care. I’m here to tell you, the officers of Pittsburgh, they care a lot. They’re incredibly frustrated when they know who’s responsible (for crimes) or that the community knows and they’re not comfortable telling us.”

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