Editorials

Don’t Allow County Council to Usurp Local Law Enforcement Authority

Our District 2 County Councilwoman, Cindy Kirk, and our Allegheny County Councilman at-Large, Sam DeMarco, are requesting our help to stop the formation of arbitrary “civilian” law enforcement review boards.

Please read the letter from Councilwoman Kirk and respond accordingly if this matter is of concern to you.

We need your help:  Certain Members of Allegheny County Council want to
take control of your police department!
On July 10th, Allegheny County Council rammed legislation through to begin the process of creating a countywide civilian police review board over local municipal police departments.

A motion passed in Allegheny County Council 8-6, giving certain Council members the ability to conduct up to four public hearings where they can gather public input on the formation of a countywide civilian police review board over local police departments.  Supporters of this backdoor usurpation of local authority were careful to use the term “civilian” rather than “citizen” because they want to allow non-citizens to participate on this police review board.

Although details of the power-grab have not yet been revealed, this board would independently investigate and examine police officers’ actions and recommend/demand actions and discipline for local police departments throughout the County.  The County currently has no jurisdiction over the local municipalities so at this time local municipalities would have to opt it, or as the supporters claim, the program will be “voluntary initially”.   The supporting members on council are already working with State Senator Jay Costa to pass state legislation that will give the County authority to make this oversight mandatory for all local police departments.

Council members Nick Futules, Paul Klein, John Palmiere, Robert Palmosina, Anita Prizio, Denise Ranalli-Russell, DeWitt Walton and John DeFazio voted in favor of the resolution. Tom Baker, Pat Catena, Sam DeMarco, Cindy Kirk, Bob Macey and Sue Means voted against it. Chuck Martoni was absent.

Those of us who are opposed to the creation of this Board need your help.  We must make our voices heard.  Please call Allegheny Councilmembers at (412)350-6490 and let them know what you think; Councilmembers really do track this information!  Send emails to all the Council.  To do this, go to the Allegheny county website  http://www.alleghenycounty.us/county-council/council-members.aspx  and select “contact county council”.  Your email will go to all members of council    You are also able to select individual members if you prefer, by selecting their names further down on the page.  There will be four upcoming public meetings with the dates and locations to be announced.  I will share the information as soon as it becomes available.

 

Cindy Kirk

THANK YOU for YOUR SUPPORT

County Councilwoman Cindy Kirk

 

Sample Letter:

Dear Council Member,

Fair, unbiased and honorable treatment under the law of all American citizens is the expectation most reasonable American citizens have for their law enforcement officers.  In rare instances, individual officers may fall short of our expectations or may engage in grave episodes of misjudgment in which cases, citizens expect them to be held accountable for their actions. However, on the whole, reasonable Americans understand the indispensable role of law enforcement in our communities and value, respect and have faith in our local law enforcement.  Not only do we believe that our municipal law enforcement does not need oversight, but many of us are highly opposed to the institution of a “civilian” board intended to regulate police activity. Any such board, particularly of appointed individuals (versus elected), will undoubtedly gravitate toward its own agenda which is rarely in the interest of the people.  Unaccountable bureaucracy often proves to be an unhealthy arrangement and I strongly oppose the creation of an oversight board.  Thank you for removing these measures from consideration.