The Public Safety Task Force of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (of which I am a member) has been working to ensure violent confrontations between the police and residents of this city are things of the past. A hopeful sign has been a move by the Pittsburgh police department to add new modules to the training and retraining of its officers. The modules are: “Procedural Justice,” “Implicit Bias” and “Racial Reconciliation.” The first two have been implemented and the third is soon to follow.
When Mayor Bill Peduto hired former police Chief Cameron McLay two years ago, it had been just a couple of short months since the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. Across the nation, people were waking up to the reality that people of color are more than twice as likely to be shot by police than whites. Many were finally questioning how police officers operate in communities of color and the disparate treatment to which people of color are subjected.
In response to Police Chief Cameron McLay’s resignation, and in support of the important work he did to bridge the divide between the police and the community, the leaders of our Public Safety Task Force wrote a guest column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
On October 1st, PIIN launched Sacred Conversations on Race + Action, a series of congregation-based discussions designed to provide a safe space to discuss race and racism in our country and in our communities. During this several months-long series of discussions, we will reflect on our experiences, challenge one another to expand our own levels of personal awareness, and ultimately, take action.
Last Thursday, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay did something extraordinary at St. James AME Church. Speaking before a gathering of faith leaders assembled by the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, Chief McLay spoke with the honesty and bluntness that has characterized his nearly two-year stint in Pittsburgh.
Police-community relations were further discussed Thursday at a separate gathering at St. James AME Church. The Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, or PIIN, invited faith leaders, law enforcement and community members to share their experiences, with a response from Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay.
In the wake of the unspeakable violence that has shaken our nation throughout the summer months, PIIN gathered for a community hearing to begin a much needed and deeper conversation about inequity and racism in our city.
The fatal shooting of several police officers last week in Dallas has prompted Pittsburgh officials to come together to talk about building better relationships between police and the community.
This summer, PIIN linked arms with teachers, parents, students and community organizations in support of the Pittsburgh Public School Board and their decision to hire Dr. Anthony Hamlet as our next Superintendent.
On February 26th, PIIN convened a public hearing with Police Chief Cameron McLay to discuss effecting measurable improvements in public safety in Pittsburgh.