ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF ACCPA

 

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 threestep “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 in1997 and distributed approximately 400,000 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 General’s Office, the Allegheny County Chief Executive, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s 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 in partnership with the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association “Model Policies”  on such topics as; Use of Force,  Bomb Response, Pursuit,  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 were developed and distributed to all of the Police Department for review and consideration.

* 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.” At that time, the amendment allowed the audio recordings of police/citizen incidents. We believe that the use of audio as well as video recording will allow police 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.

      

*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.

*  Executive Board members of the Association serve 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, at the request of Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala we worked in partnership with and the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to develop a model  “Eyewitness Identification Procedures” that was on par with current national standards that was  distributed to every Police Department in Western Pennsylvania.

* Again working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission our model“ Use of Force Policy” was revised ensure compliance with recent U.S Federal Supreme Court decisions  and addresses such topics as Duty to Intervene, De-escalation, Chock Holds,  Positional Asphyxiation, Force Options, Aerosol (OC) Spray, Electronic Control Device (Taser), Canines (K-9’s), Impact Weapons, Extended Range Impact Devices, Verbal Warnings, Lethal Force, Medical Aid,  Use of Force Report and an Outside Agency investigating deadly force incident was distributed to every Police Department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

* 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 model 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 model 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 and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

As the result of a critical incident, Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala requested our Association develop a model policy on “Excited Delirium” on par with current national standards that was distributed to every Police Department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

In partnership with the Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the District Attorney’s Office the following model policies were reviewed and/or developed and reissued:

  • A revised model “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 and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.
  • A model “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” was distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

  • A model “Interview and Interrogation Policy” which addresses Interviews,  Custodial Interrogation, Miranda Warnings, Right to Counsel and Waiver of Counsel and a  standardized “Miranda Rights Form” was distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.
  • A “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 was distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.
  • A model “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 was distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

Working in partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala and the a new model “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

A new model  “Citizen Compliant 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.

In partnership with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and the Western Pennsylvania, Chiefs of Police Association,  sample guidelines were developed that may help outline as to what conduct violates the third clause of Title 18 Pa. C.S. § 5503 the Pennsylvania Disorderly Conduct statute.

In partnership with Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala we purchased cameras, developed a model policy, and implemented a pilot project for the audio-video recording of custodial interrogations.

In further expansion of the ongoing working partnership between the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association and Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala a revised and updated Model Body Worn Camera Policy was developed.  In 2015 the development of this policy was complicated by the fact that in Pennsylvania, the use of a Body Worn Camera by a police officer is regulated by (audio)  the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act, Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. §5702 and (video) the   United States Constitution 4th  Amendment, the Pennsylvania Constitution   Article 1-Section 8 and Pennsylvania Search & Seizure case law. Working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Legislature in 2017 Act 22 was passed that permitted the use of BWCs by Police.

In partnership with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office the PA Precious Metals project was developed and implemented throughout Western Pennsylvania.  The objective of the project was to explore and then develop a means to electronic capture information of sales associated with the Precious Metals industry.  DA Zappala purchased equipment, had software developed and obtained an operating system that is now serving Western Pennsylvania. 

The new system changed the required reporting methods for Precious Metal licensees within the counties participating (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland).  All licensees are required to file each transaction electronically.  The electronic filing requires a digital picture of each precious metals object being sold, a digital image of the driver’s license or other state or government issued identification of the seller, and other pertinent information relative to Pennsylvania state compliance needs

In partnership with the DA Zappala a Model policy on possession of a small amount of Marijuana, Medical Marijuana Act Guidelines was developed and distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

In partnership with the District Attorney Zappala a model policy on Interactions with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals was developed and distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

At the request of District Attorney Zappala a Model Brady-Giglio policy was developed. As a result, attached for your review and consideration is a Model Brady-Giglio Policy which is intended to provide members with guidelines necessary to fulfill the reporting and testimonial requirements mandated under United States Supreme Court decisions including Brady v. Maryland 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. U.S. 405 U.S. 150 (1972) were developed and distributed to every police department in Allegheny County and made available to every police department in Western Pennsylvania.

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.