PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto talked to KDKA about police reform and recruitment struggles in the city.
In a wide-ranging interview Tuesday with KDKA, the mayor said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and recruitment numbers are down.
“I haven’t spoken with one mayor in the country who has said that it is a good idea, right now, to put less into law enforcement,” Peduto said.
Peduto also said police reform is needed but defunding the police is not what he wants.
Defunding the police is one of the 12 demands for police reform hand-delivered to city officials on Monday by the “Black Activist and Organizer Collective.”
“I will respond to the whole issue within those seven days in the manner they had requested,” Peduto said.
The mayor does support for the “8 Can’t Wait” Campaign.
“It’s very interesting, I spent three hours in Homewood this Saturday,” Peduto said. “Not one person was talking about defunding or abolishing the police. What they were saying is we have to reevaluate how we are recruiting police officers. We have to reevaluate how they are being trained and change that training.”
Peduto did say recruitment is an issue.
“We still see recruitment numbers that are not sufficient to what our goals are,” Peduto said.
He said he is working with churches, historic black colleges and those leaving the military to find qualified, diverse candidates.
He wants to recruit young people from local neighborhoods to join the force.
“We started a technical education program in Homewood at Westinghouse High School, where we are training our high school students for careers as firefighters, medics and police officers,” Peduto said. “If you really want to get somebody who cares about the community, you have somebody who grew up in the community as a Pittsburgh police officer.”
Mayor Peduto said he wants to expand the program to every Pittsburgh Public Schools and create internship opportunities at local universities.