PITTSBURGH, PA (KDKA) – A national conversation on race relations continues following protests in 2020. The Black Political Empowerment Project or B-PEP took a list of recommendations on how to improve law enforcement relationships to the city of Pittsburgh last July.
“We are going through every commitment that’s been made and assessing where we are in terms of implementations. Commitments without implementation mean something but not much,” said B-PEP Chairman Tim Stevens.READ MORE: Clairton Football Team Deal With Fallout Of Recent Violence
Stevens meets with leaders of the city and police department every six weeks. Some of the recommendations he’s following up on include better background checks for officers, recruitment from historically Black colleges and more training.
This includes an updated brochure on how to handle situations on the streets. Officers will have to pass a test on that material.
“Our goal is the students in the street and the officers in the street are working with the same bible on what to do if stopped by the police. It’s a big deal,” Stevens said.
Some other recommendations are already starting to be seen digitally.READ MORE: Balloon Release Held For Steven Eason, The 15-Year-Old Central Catholic Student Shot And Killed At Haunted Hills Hayride
“They’ve begun to use social media more to show the community what they are doing and positive things, which we think will increase positive community relations, a get-to-know feature,” Stevens said.
In a national race relations roundtable discussion Monday morning, Pittsburgh police Chief Scott Schubert emphasized the importance of community policing. It’s a passion for him as he continues to walk the beat each day.
“The work must be done daily on the streets, in the basement of churches, in civic centers, universities and corporations,” said Schubert.
It’s clear this is not an overnight project, but Stevens would like to see more implementation sooner.
“It’s not something on paper, this paper or this paper, but actions that have been committed to and implemented and I think hopefully in the next year, the public in Pittsburgh will see and hear there is movement, there is progress,” Stevens said.MORE NEWS: Homeowner Says He Is Left With 'Nothing' After Alleged Hidden Holding Tanks Sour His Dreams
Stevens believes these recommendations, once complete, will minimize negative engagements between citizens and police. His next meeting with the chief is Thursday, April 8.