Following is an outline of some of the projects that the
Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association
has completed in the past several years
* After an In-Custody-Death, we distributed three hundred (300) informational training videos on "Positional Asphyxiation" and offered a sample "Use of Force Policy" that helped outline steps to avoid "Positional Asphyxiation" to all of the various law enforcement agencies throughout Allegheny County.
* In partnership with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission we developed a three-step "Cultural Diversity" and "Code of Ethics" training program for recruits, police officers and supervisors.
The final phase of our "Three Step Training Program" was completed when, in conjunction with the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the United States Attorney's Office we sponsored a "Train the Trainers, Instructor Development-Cultural Diversity" program in which twenty-four (24) instructors from the federal, state and local level were certified as "Instructors" to teach "Cultural Diversity" to recruits, police officers and supervisors. At the time Pennsylvania was one of only seven states to undergo this type of training and the only county wide program in the nation is here in Allegheny County. The Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission (M.P.O.E.T.C.) has developed a similar program as part of a "Mandatory In-Service Training Program."
* "What To Do When Stopped By The Police" is a "Educational Pamphlet," that our Association developed and distributed more than 250,000 copies of. This pamphlet outlines your rights as a citizen and how to file a complaint, if you feel you were legitimately treated unfairly by the police. This educational brochure was done in "Partnership" with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, U.S. Attorney's Office, the Pennsylvania Attorney Generals Office, the Allegheny County Chief Executive, the Allegheny County District Attorneys Office and FOP Lodge # 91. This pamphlet also outlines what you should do if an "UNMARKED" police car signals you to pull over and you are not sure the person is a Police Officer.
* "Rules of the Road," is our second "Educational Brochure"which outlines requirements and regulations under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code.
We have addressed the Commission Members of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Governor's Alliance for Community and Law Enforcement Relations, the State Boroughs Association on our diversity and educational training programs.
* In an effort to unify Police Response "Sample Policies" on such topics as;
Use of Force, Bomb Response, Pursuit and Emergency Vehicle Operation, Blood Borne Pathogens, Mobile Video Recorders, Traffic Stops, Evidence and Property, Gifts and Gratuities, Eyewitness Identification, Critical Incident Response, Excited Delirium, Search & Seizure, Interview and Interrogation, Informant and Source of Information, Court Appearance, Domestic Violence and standardized Voluntary Consent to Search and Miranda Rights forms are available to the Police Departments that wish to update their Departmental Rules and Regulations in these areas.
* Grants, Working with the State Legislature we obtained two grants totaling approximately $100,000.00 and purchased a Firearms Training System, (FATS) Glock 40 caliber Pistols and Defensive Tactics Equipment for the Allegheny County, Police Training Academy.
* We developed a "Citizens Police Academy" curriculum that is available to ALL of the municipalities in Allegheny County and also offered at the High School level.
* We worked with Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. on a new Educational Course that addresses "Racial Profiling."
* In partnership with the Islamic Council of Pittsburgh, we distributed two (200) hundred informational training videos on "Islam A Closer Look" and educational brochures to the various law enforcement agencies throughout Allegheny County.
* We currently serve on the United States Attorney's Anti-Terrorism Task Force for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission "Inter-Agency Task Force on Civil Tension.
* Working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., George Simmons of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the NAACP, the FOP, the ACLU and Members of the House of Representatives, we were successful in obtaining an amendment to the "Wire Tap Act." The amendment now allows the audio recordings of police/citizen incidents. We believe that the use of audio as well as video recording will allow us to be more accountable to the citizens and communities that we serve. It will also provide a means of accurate documentation in the event of police misconduct, assist police administrators in taking appropriate corrective action and eliminate the filing of false reports and/or claims against innocent police officers who were simply doing their job. The sample policy is in compliance with Pennsylvania Statutory and Regulatory provisions which require that an Officer must inform, as soon as reasonably practicable, the individuals identifiably present that he/she has intercepted and recorded the oral communications and addresses provisions for disclosure and retention requirements.
*Working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission, a Law Enforcement Computer Training Lab was dedicated at the District Attorney's Regional Training and Support Center in Homestead. Training at the center includes more than thirty (30) courses with topics ranging from "Power Point" and "Access" to Web Page Design and the Internet.
*An educational brochure on "Motorized Scooters" was developed and distributed to all of the law enforcement agencies throughout Allegheny County.
* An "Amber Alert Card" was developed and distributed to every Police Officer throughout Allegheny County.
* The President of the Association serves on the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Policy Board.
* A committee of the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association worked with the President Judge, District Attorney Zappala and the Court Administrators Office to develop a "Quick Arrest" program that enhanced the processing of criminal complaints and enabled their electronic distribution to various agencies that are involved in the processing of prisoners. The "Quick Arrest" program allows for faster preliminary arraignments, streamlines the arrest and bail process and is currently being used in a pilot program.
* As the result of a high profile wrongful conviction case, we worked in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to develop Sample "Eyewitness Identification Procedures" that were distributed to every Police Department in Allegheny County.
* Again working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission our sample "Use of Force Policy" was revised to address Positional Asphyxiation, Aerosol (OC) Spray, Electronic Control Device (Taser), Canines (K-9's), Impact Weapons, Extended Range Impact Devices, Lethal Force, Force Continuum and Use of Force Report and was distributed to every Police Department in Allegheny County.
* After two high-profile Police Pursuits in Allegheny County ended in death and serious injury to civilians. Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala requested our Association review our previously published sample "Pursuit or Emergency Driving" Policy in an effort to determine if it was on par with current national standards. As a result of that review our sample on "Pursuit or Emergency Driving Policy" was revised to include Pennsylvania Statutory and Regulatory provisions that require each Police Vehicle must be equipped with audible and visual signals that meet specifications so they may respond to emergency calls for assistance, engage in traffic stops and pursue vehicles for the protection and safety of the public was distributed to every Police Department in Allegheny County.
In further expansion of the working partnership between the law enforcement community, Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission a sample policy on "Excited Delirium" was developed and distributed to every Police Department in Allegheny County.
A revised Sample "Traffic Stop Policy" which has been expanded to include "Vehicle Inventory," definitions of "Reasonable Suspicion," "Probable Cause," what actions that can be taken if an Officer develops PC to believe an occupant possesses or a vehicle contains a weapon, and " High Risk Vehicle Stops" was distributed to every police department in Allegheny County.
* A sample "Search and Seizure Policy" which addresses Consent, Investigative
Stops, Terry Stops, Frisk/Pat Down, Plain Feel Doctrine, Plain View, Moveable Vehicle Exception, Exigent Circumstances, Crime Scenes, Vehicle Inventory, In-Custody Searches, Seizure, Strip Searches, Body Cavity Searches, Search Warrant requirements and a standardized "Voluntary Consent to Search Form."
* A sample "Interview and Interrogation Policy" which addresses Interviews, Custodial Interrogation, Miranda Warnings, Right to Counsel and Waiver of Counsel and a standardized "Miranda Rights Form."
* A sample "Court Appearance Policy" which addresses Reporting for Duty, Court Appearances, Civil Cases, Appearing as a Character Witness in Criminal Proceedings, Appearing as a Defense Witness and Civil Actions.
*A sample "Informant and Source of Information Policy" which addresses Informants, Source of Information, Confidential Informant, Control Officer, Informant Evaluation, Use of Juvenile Informants, Use of Informants on State Parole or Probation, Use of Informants on County Probation, Use of Informants with Criminal Charges pending, Initial Comprehensive Interview, Officer Prohibited Conduct, Misconduct Complaints, Informant History Report, Criminal History Search, Informant Prohibited Conduct, Responsibilities of Supervisors, Informant Files, Supervising Informants, Multiple Informants, Polygraph Examinations, Informant Compensation, Informant Deactivation, Informant History Report, Debriefing Questionnaire, Informant Conditions Statement and State Parole and Probation Agreement.
Working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission a new Sample "Domestic Violence Policy" which addresses the handling of Domestic Violence complaints, requirements to be followed in the event a Police/Law Enforcement Officer(s) is involved in a Domestic Incident the Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act, assisting victims of abuse in obtaining shelter, counseling, and a Protection From Abuse Order, arrest for a PFA violation, the Pennsylvania Crime Victim's Act and the requirement to disseminate important information to victims of crime and the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
With the implementation of the AFIS system in 1990 in Pennsylvania the ability to solve cold cases has taken on a new perspective. In many criminal cases in which latent fingerprint evidence has been collected, it is no longer necessary for the investigating officer to expend countless investigative man hours in an attempt to uncover a possible suspect for comparison to the crime scene prints. If suitable latent fingerprints are available, an AFIS search of the millions of finger and palm prints on file may link an individual to that crime in a matter of minutes. This in turn results in removing these criminals more quickly from our community, thus making Allegheny County a safer place.
A growing number of AFIS terminals are emerging throughout Pennsylvania. As law enforcement and the forensic community realize the potential of the system capability more and more communities are investing in remote AFIS terminals to assist in the ever increasing latent print cases backlogs facing law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Many agencies are facing a turnaround time from six months to one year. In some situations, such as auto theft and other minor offenses, the statue of limitations has expired before the case could be analyzed by an Examiner. Working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala we believed the full potential of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) had not been implemented and currently there was an unacceptable backlog in the turn-around-time to handle the growing number of fingerprint requests generated by the Police Departments within Allegheny County. A pilot project of implementing a dedicated site for an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) Operator at the "Northern Regional AFIS Lab," was funded and housed at the Northern Regional Police Department. The first phase of this project involves Police Officers and Detectives of the Bethel Park, Moon, Mt. Lebanon, Northern Regional, Penn Hills and Shaler Police Departments.
A $15,000 grant was obtained in partnership with the Women's Center, and Womansplace from Verizon for a two hour training program on DV for Police Officers and Supervisors in which a Digital Camera is given to each department that participates.
At the conclusion of six sessions we will have 91 departments who have participated
Also a new Sample "Citizen Complaint Policy" which includes guidelines for the handling of complaints against Police Department Members, types of complaints, receipt of complaints, complaint investigation, complaint disposition, formal documentation, notifying complaints, internal complaints, and a Police Citizen Complaint Report was distributed to every police department in Allegheny County.
To truly improve relations between law enforcement and the culturally diverse communities that we serve, we believe will require a working partnership from the local municipal level to the federal government. We believe this partnership should include but not be limited to; law enforcement, elected officials from the various levels of government, county and state agencies, citizen groups, churches, school districts, parents and if possible the media.