11 Investigates: Police substation set to open on South Side

PITTSBURGH — Tens of thousands of people are expected at Pittsburgh’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade this weekend, and many of them will likely head to bars and restaurants on the South Side.

In anticipation of big crowds this weekend, 11 Investigates has learned that city leaders are preparing to open a new police substation on the South Side.

The effort to open the substation actually began years ago with the previous administration.

But the plan stalled under the new administration.

It’s now moving forward and it will be ready to open by this weekend, just in time for the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities.

It will provide a new police presence in the popular entertainment district that has had trouble in the past.

City workers were putting the finishing touches on the new Pittsburgh police substation on 18th and Mary Street on the South Side Wednesday afternoon.

Chief Investigator Rick Earle spoke with Pittsburgh City Councilman Bob Charland, who represents the South Side.

“The Saint Patrick’s Day operations will be run out of there, kind of a place for the officers to have a base. For an event like Saint Patrick’s Day on Carson Street, it will keep the officers closer to the streets,” said Charland.

The building, which also houses a fire station, served as a police station until 2008 when police moved up the South Side Slopes to nearby Allentown.

In 2021, the Peduto administration announced plans to open the substation.

They spent half a million dollars on renovations, but when the new administration took over, the plan stalled.

The Gainey administration said the building wasn’t suitable, and they planned to look for a new location.

But now 11 Investigates has learned they are going back to the original plan.

“I believe the plan kind of lost steam and the new commander, Commander Abraham really said this was very important for his operation here,” said Charland.

The substation will give the 10 to 15 officers assigned to the South Side Entertainment Patrol a base where they can take a break, write reports or meet with residents and business owners.

Several shootings last year prompted the implementation of the South Side entertainment patrols last summer.

Charland believes it’s having a positive impact.

In the first six months of operation last year, officers made 95 arrests, confiscated 18 guns and issued more than 1,000 citations.

Neighbors say this new substation is a welcome addition to the community.

“I know I’ve had to call the police because someone was sleeping on my porch once and they got there fast but now they’ll be able to get there faster, so that will be nice,” said Rebekah Shumsky, who lives on the South Side.

Right now, the plan is for that substation to operate only when the Entertainment Patrols are on duty, from Wednesday evening through Sunday during the overnight hours, when the bars and restaurants on Carson Street are busiest.

On a side note, if you watched our story, you might have noticed the strange sign on the front door of the new substation.

The building served as the fictitious Adairsville Police Station during the filming of the series, Mindhunter.

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