PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A group of organizations and residents are pushing for the creation of a civilian police control council in Pittsburgh.
It would be the first of its kind in the nation.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Severe Weather, Including Hail And Strong Winds Possible
The group of activists is calling this a campaign for community control over the police. The activists want a democratically elected civilian police control council to be created. The nine-person council would have full powers over the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
The group is hoping to get enough signatures for their petition in order for the question to be on the November ballot.
“This is not an anti-police thing. This is about building a new city and we need communities to feel comfortable with the police and policing taking place in our community and that is not the case now and that’s not been the case ever,” said Randall Taylor, who is part of the campaign.
The council would be able to hire, fire, investigate and discipline police officers. The council could set policing policies and regulations over the department. It could approve and reject budgets and any purchases. Lastly, the council could negotiate and approve contracts with police unions.
“Will be in charge of all aspects of policing, hiring, firing, discipline, budget, but particularly decisions made about how, where and when we police our communities,” Taylor said.READ MORE: Rep. Conor Lamb To Announce Candidacy For U.S. Senate
This council would replace the current Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board. Citizens would be the ones voting on who should be on the council.
Activists rallied at Freedom Corner on Thursday night and collected signatures for a petition.
“Currently, the only people who have a say over how the police work in the city is the mayor and the FOP. We really think that should be diversified, that the community deserves a say over how the police work,” said Dakota Castro-Jarrett, who is helping with this campaign.
Organizers say the police control council would hold police accountable and create more transparency.
“We are the first in the country to initiate this and if this passes, this will not only be historic for the city of Pittsburgh but for the nation. We believe other cities will follow the model of Pittsburgh,” Taylor said.MORE NEWS: Right Lanes Of Turnpike Blocked Between Donegal And Somerset Due To Deadly Tractor-Trailer Crash
The coalition is hoping to get at least 25,000 signatures for their petition, which is double the amount needed to get the community police control question on the ballot.