ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF ACCPA
The following is an outline of some initiatives, programs and projects of the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association in 2023:
* After an In-Custody-Death, at our expense (300) informational training videos on “Positional Asphyxiation” and a model “Use of Force Policy” that outlined steps to avoid (Allegheny County Coroner assistance) “Positional Asphyxiation” were duplicated and delivered by a courier service to every law enforcement agency in Allegheny County.
* In partnership with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission at our expense a three–step “Cultural Diversity” training program for recruits, police officers and supervisors was developed and taught twice a year by an instructor from Reno Nevada*.
We traveled to Harrisburg and addressed the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission members on our diversity educational training programs and initiatives.
We addressed the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs at their annual conference on our diversity and educational training programs and initiatives.
The final phase of our “Three Step Training Program” was completed when, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Western PA Chiefs of Police Association,
and *Reno Nevada Deputy Police Chief, at our expense we sponsored and hosted 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 have this type of training and the only Countywide program in the nation was here in Allegheny County.
We traveled to Harrisburg and addressed the Governor’s Alliance for Community and Law Enforcement Relations on our diversity and educational training programs.
At our invitation (and expense, hotel-meals) the Pennsylvania State Police Major who was the “Director” of the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) traveled from Harrisburg and attended two (2) of the Cultural Diversity training sessions, one for recruits at the Allegheny County Police Academy and one for officers and supervisors (100+) at the Castle Shannon Fire Dept Banquet Hall.
As a result of our partnerships and efforts (8+ years), the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) now has mandatory courses e.g., “Procedural Justice” and Cultural Diversity” for all Pennsylvania Police Academy recruit classes and for mandatory update classes for all police officers, supervisors and chiefs.
* “What To Do When Stopped by The Police” is an “Educational Brochure,” that our Association developed and at our expense have distributed @500,000 paper copies throughout Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania. This brochure outlines your rights as a citizen, how to file a complaint if you feel you were treated unfairly by the police and 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. This educational brochure was done in “Partnership” with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Allegheny County Chief Executive’s Office, Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, and FOP Lodge #91.
* “Rules of the Road,” is our second “Educational Brochure” which outlines requirements and regulations under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code.
* We developed a “Citizens Police Academy” curriculum that is available to ALL of the municipalities in Allegheny County to be offered to citizen groups and High Schools.
*A third educational brochure “Motorized Scooters” was developed with the District Attorney’s Office and distributed to all law enforcement agencies in Allegheny County.
* An “Amber Alert Card” was developed with the District Attorney’s Office and distributed to all law enforcement agencies in Allegheny County.
* We worked with the District Attorney’s office on a “Racial Profiling” class for officers, supervisors and chiefs which included our Model Traffic Stop Policy that addresses racial/ethnic 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 all law enforcement agencies in Allegheny County.
* Grants We obtained grants and purchased a Firearms Training System (FATS), Glock Pistols and Defensive Tactics Equipment for the Allegheny County Police Academy.
* Our Association worked with the President Judge, the District Attorney’s Office 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 involved in the processing of prisoners. The “Quick Arrest” program allows for faster preliminary arraignments and streamlines the arrest and bail process.
* Two members of our Executive Board serve on the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB).
* In an effort to unify Police Response, in partnership with the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board and Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, “Model Policies and Forms” were developed and distributed to all police departments in Allegheny County and adopted by the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association on such topics as:
Audio-Video Recording Police Activity;
Blood Borne Pathogens;
Body Worn Cameras;
Bomb Threats Response;
Citizens Police Academy;
Critical Incident Response;
Evidence and Property;
Encountering People with Autism and
Intellectual Developmental Disabilities;
Informant and Source of Information;
Information Technology-Social Media;
Interactions with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals;
Interview and Interrogation;
Marijuana Possession-small amount;
Miranda Rights Form;
Medical Marijuana Act;
Mobile Video Recorders;
Recording Custodial Interrogations;
Search & Seizure;
Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone);
Use of Force;
Voluntary Consent to Search Form.
* With the implementation of the AFIS system in 1990 in Pennsylvania we believed the full potential of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) had not been implemented and 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. Working in partnership with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, a pilot project of implementing a dedicated site for an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) Operator at the “Northern Regional AFIS Lab” was funded by the District Attorney’s Office and housed at the Northern Regional Police Department. The first phase of this project involved Officers and Detectives of the Bethel Park, Moon, Mt. Lebanon, Northern Regional, Penn Hills and Shaler Police Departments.
* After the death of an individual that appeared to be in the state of Delirium, the District Attorney asked our Association to participate in a Use of Force Working group. As a result, our Association developed a Model Delirium Policy that addressed the number (if used) of TASER applications, rapid control and transfer to EMS of subjects exhibiting symptoms of Delirium. Upon completion the model policy along with links to training videos were distributed to every Law Enforcement Agency in Allegheny County.
* We worked with the Division Chief of Allegheny County Emergency Medical Services on model policies for EMS & ER personnel for subjects exhibiting symptoms of Delirium.
* As the result of two high-profile wrongful convictions, and a wrongful identification and arrest, the District Attorney asked the Executive Board to work in partnership with the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to develop a comprehensive best practices Model Eyewitness Identification Policy. In the model policy, the procedure of showing the array and documentation of the witness statement of certainty are to be recorded. Upon completion, the model policy along with links to training videos were distributed to every Law Enforcement Agency in Allegheny County.
* After two high-profile Police Pursuits in Allegheny County ended in death and serious injury to civilians, the District Attorney requested our Association review our previously published model “Pursuit” Policy in an effort to determine if it was on par with current national standards. Our model Pursuit Policy includes Pennsylvania Statutory and Regulatory provisions that require Departments to meet current best practices, pursuits for summary, misdemeanor or non-forcible felony offenses are restricted and use of the multi–county highway LPR/Overview camera system is encouraged. The model policy was again distributed to every Law Enforcement Agency in Allegheny County.
* In partnership with and funded by the District Attorney’s Office, a roll call training video “Encountering People With Autism, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities” for police and other first responders was produced. Copies of the video and a model policy were distributed through the Allegheny and Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Associations to all Police-Fire-EMS. The video is on the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police YouTube channel for viewing by current first responders, recruit classes and new hires. The model policy is available in WORD our Association’s website.
* Our Association purchased audio-video cameras and in partnership with the District Attorney’s office developed a model policy and implemented a pilot project for the Audio-Video Recording of Custodial Interrogations and Eyewitness Identifications.
* In partnership with the District Attorney’s Office, the PA Precious Metals program 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. The District Attorney purchased equipment, had software developed and obtained an operating system that is now serving Western Pennsylvania. The new system (with court approval) 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.
* Working in partnership with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, and Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate, we were successful in obtaining Act 22, which 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.
* In partnership with the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, a model Brady-Giglio policy was developed and distributed to all the police departments in Allegheny County with guidelines that 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) as interpreted in more recent rulings.
* Grants In 2022 we applied for and received a $550,000.00 Body Worn Camera grant, partnered with Allegheny County & dispensed $1.5 million to municipalities for BWCs.
* After a high-profile arrest involving multiple TASER applications the District Attorney asked our Association to review our current Model Use of Force Policy in an effort to determine if it was on par with current national standards.
BELOW ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE MODEL POLICY ON TASER USE:
- Multiple applications of either mode, particularly continuous cycling, may increase the risk to the subject, should be avoided and absent exigent circumstances not exceed a recommended (TASER) maximum of three (3) five (5) second successful applications or a total of 15 seconds.
- As with any use of force option, a TASER does not always function as intended and is not effective on every subject. If ineffective, reassess (Critical Decision-Making Model) the situation and consider other control/force options available or disengagement, if feasible. (See Section 05 Force Options, subsection C Restraint and Control).
- Officers must access the effectiveness of each application and determine if future applications are warranted and objectively reasonable.
We believe that the above list of accomplishments demonstrates our commitment to truly improve relations between law enforcement and the culturally diverse communities that we serve. We continue to support a working partnership which spans 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. Our Association stands ready, willing, and able to lead this effort to improve the lives of all of the citizens of Allegheny County.