PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With dwindling numbers in the Pittsburgh Police Bureau, last month, Chief Cameron McLay announced that officers would no longer respond to scenes of a number of crimes, including simple assault and claims of terroristic threats. Instead, people would have to call a telephone reporting line.

“That concerned me totally. And I know it concerned a lot of officers,” said Councilwoman Darlene Harris.

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Reporters were kept out of the private meeting this afternoon, left waiting in the City Council lobby.

“I thought the public had a right to be in this meeting. I mean this was something that effects the public seriously,” Councilwoman Harris said.

KDKA learned after that there will be immediate changes to the policy— the Public Safety Director said officers will respond to simple assaults, harassment and terroristic threats.

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“I am satisfied in my direct communication with the chief and I am comfortable with the minor adjustments he wants to make in the policy,” said City Council President Bruce Kraus. “I believe if you call for an officer, and you need a police officer, and it’s crime on a person, that officer should be coming to your house.”

While the telephone reporting line policy was created ten years ago, Councilwoman Harris said instead of it being an option it became the only way to report 14 crimes as of the end of August. She said this all comes back to the city losing officers at an alarming rate.

“All around us, officers are making more money. Out of the last class, we had 11 officers stay with the city after they got out and 30 of them went with the suburbs because they’re paid more,” she explained.

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The director and chief will continue to discuss modifications to the policy.

Heather Abraham