Pittsburgh Bureau of Police confirms major changes 11 Investigates first told you about

PITTSBURGH — Beginning Monday, Pittsburgh police won’t respond to any calls that aren’t in progress emergencies.

Chief Larry Scirotto wants to cut their call volume from approximately 200,000 calls per year down to about 50,000.

That essentially means that calls for criminal mischief, theft, harassment and burglary alarms, just to name a few, will all be handled by the telephone reporting unit or online reporting.

Scirotto is working on a plan where the Pittsburgh Parking Authority would handle all parking complaints. He said that’s the number one complaint the department receives.

Scirotto says this will free up officers for more important things.

“That allows our officers to be engaged in community in a way, now they’re at the YMCA instead of sitting on the 10th Street bypass with a bike complaint,” said Scirotto.

Between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., there won’t be a desk officer at any of the six zone stations.

They’ve installed call boxes linked to 911 for emergency.

“There is not any data to supports us having our zones manned by personnel from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. For the very one off instance I can’t make an exception,” said Scirotto.

On some overnight shifts, they’ll only be 22 officers to cover the entire city.

Scirotto said the data doesn’t support more staff at that time.

“Yes, it’s enough to cover the entire city at those hours when we have 8 percent of the time people are calling,” said Scirotto.

But that’s a concern for some who live in the city.

They’re worried on some nights there won’t be enough officers to respond to calls.

Earle: Are you worried about your safety?

Ginny Hamer-Kropf, of Sheraden: Absolutely, absolutely.

And Councilman Anthony Coghill is also concerned about the new staffing plan, especially the calls they won’t be responding to.

“When it comes to harassment and things of this nature you better have a police officer there. That’s what the public expects. That’s what I expect out of our city,” said Coghill.

The President of the Pittsburgh Police Officers’ Union released this statement to 11 Investigates.

“The staffing plan designed by police command is a direct response to a seriously understaffed police department. Only time will tell if the plan works or the Chief will need to pivot and modify his plan quickly. The FOP will be watching carefully for any contract violations that develop especially when non-emergency events come up such as St. Patrick’s Day, parades, large concerts, July 4th etc. In short, the FOP believes that the police department is seriously over-committed and under-resourced,” said Bob Swartzwelder, FOP union President.

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