More fallout from Target 11 Exclusive into Pittsburgh Marathon police staffing issues

PITTSBURGH — After a Target 11 Exclusive investigation Tuesday highlighting police staffing issues with the Pittsburgh Marathon, Target 11 has learned there are more problems.

This time they involve the number of hours officers are being forced to work. An officer reached out to Target 11, saying he is being forced to work nearly 18 hours in a 24-hour shift to cover both the marathon and his normal scheduled work shift.

Police union president Bob Swartzwelder tells Target 11 it is a violation of the union contract for officers to work more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period during non-emergencies. Swartzwelder said he considers the marathon a non-emergency.

Swartzwelder said this requirement is spelled out in the contract because it is a safety concern.

“These are variables that affect all of these other things that go on and the wellness of officers and their families,” said Swartzwelder.

In the past, Swartzwelder said the city has disciplined and even banned some officers from working secondary employment at bars and other venues and for submitting time cards with more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period.

Swartzwelder said if the city violates its own policy this weekend, he will file an unfair labor practice grievance, demanding that all disciplinary action taken by the city in similar cases be dismissed.

The city is facing police manpower issues because of retirements and resignations, and there have been no new hires in more than two years.

On Tuesday afternoon, the city was still looking for 126 officers to come forward to work the marathon.

And if they did not get the required number, newer officers would be forced to work, which is apparently happening now.

A spokesperson for the Marathon told Target 11 earlier this week that they were working with other law enforcement agencies and outside security firms to make sure the marathon is properly staffed.