PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With a pandemic, protests, riots, a tumultuous election and a divided country, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert felt like he had to do something.
“Now more than ever we need to all come together. Our commitment with Pittsburgh Police is to do our part to build those relationships, build that trust and build that legitimacy,” Chief Schubert told KDKA’s Heather Abraham.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert Has A Photographic Hobby
As simple as it may sound, he set out to walk the neighborhoods that make up the city of Pittsburgh. All 90 of them.
Chief Schubert said, “It’s about relational policing. It’s about building those relationships.”
He started on his mission in the fall, ending with his last neighborhood walk on Saturday, March 20, in Point Breeze. It was there that he came across a group of women who gather every Saturday to have socially distant coffee.
He talked to the group about his family, his walks, why he became an officer and later explained to KDKA, “That engagement there then starts a conversation, ‘Hey, how’s your day going, how’s the community, is there any problems?’”
Chief Schubert says through his months of walking the neighborhoods, he’s learned so much history and built meaningful relationships along the way.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Chief Joins In On Friendly Snowball Fight With Kids
“The best decision I ever made was deciding to walk the community. I didn’t even realize how valuable, when I said I’m going to walk all 90, how valuable it is and how it was going to change me as a person.”
You may have seen some of the pictures he’s also posted on his social media pages about the neighborhoods.
“I love taking pictures of old garages that are tilted, they’re not perfect. They’re different colors. They’re faded,” Chief Schubert said. “For photography, they make great pictures. But I think of that everything has a story. At one time it was straight. But it’s still standing and it’s like everything we’re going through right now. We’ve gone through a lot. But we’re still here. Life still goes on.”
He’s also said the conversations he’s had with members of the community have helped him think of policies, better training, and how to implement their resources.
“All people want is to be treated with dignity and respect and I think we all do, and to be fair and equitable with what you do,” he said.
Even though he completed all 90 neighborhoods, Chief Schubert says he’ll continue walking the city.
“You just see things you wouldn’t have an opportunity to see, you’re meeting people you would not have an opportunity to see. And, hopefully, able to help in some situations.”