Pittsburgh councilman bringing program to city to forge trust between citizens, law enforcement

PITTSBURGH — One Congregation One Precinct, or OneCOP, is a nationwide effort to build trust between people and law enforcement.

Following success in cities like Atlanta, Portland, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis, Councilman Ricky Burgess hopes to bring the program to Pittsburgh.

“Leaders in every relevant sector must work together cooperatively to improve and strengthen relationships between officers and citizens before explosive situations occur,” said OneCOP national director Ryan Yarrell.

Movement Forward runs the OneCOP program.

Their relationship with Pittsburgh began through the National Faith and Blue Weekend which took place last month.

“There’s a real hunger for continual engagement opportunities, and that’s what OneCOP offers,” said Yarrell. “We want to make sure that National Faith and Blue Weekend if of course a great day, but it should be a culmination of all the hard work that all these law enforcement agencies and communities are doing over the course of the year.”

According to Yarrell, a partnership between police and places of worship is a natural one.

“One of the reasons why we chose the faith community to be the vehicle between law enforcement as well as their community is because they’re traditionally safe spaces,” he explained.

There are around 300 places of worship in Pittsburgh and Burgess hopes the majority will participate in the program.