We Move Forward Each Day

Pittsburgh community-police meeting. Chief McLay is the man in the white shirt.
Pittsburgh community-police meeting. Chief McLay is the man in the white shirt.

Pittsburgh chief, Cam McLay stands up, speaks out, and commits to change at an important community meeting.

Several hundred people attended a public meeting in Pittsburgh on Thursday evening to hear their new police chief, Cameron McLay. Those in attendance at Baptist Temple Church those in attendance squeezed together in pews, stood in aisles, sat on the floor, and spilled into an overflow room downstairs.

The meeting was set up by the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN). It was titled, “Moving from Marches to Measurables.” It was a way to ask their chief to commit to a series of changes in police procedures they believe will improve policing in the city.

The reforms asked for were:

  • Immediate improvements in data collection to improve police accountability and policy,
  • The chief to participate in quarterly community forums,
  • The police department to have annual training that includes implicit bias, racial reconciliation and procedural justice, and
  • The department to hire a more diverse police force to accurately represent the demographics of the city.

Relationship building, training, recruitment, tracking … this is what will make Pittsburgh Public Safety more of a reality for our citizens and police,” said the Rev. Vincent Kolb of Sixth Presbyterian Church.

Chief McLay agreed to them all and in response received a standing ovation. He said the reforms are “absolutely critical steps for any policing agency in this country if we’re going to move the policing profession forward.”

“I’m here to assure you that I’m fully committed to every one of these actions we’ve discussed. I’m also here to ensure you, however, that if I do every one of those things I committed to [by myself] we cannot heal the wounds that are plaguing this community. I have to have your help.”

The Rev. B. DeNiece Welch of the Bidwell Street United Presbyterian Church asked the members of the crowd if they were willing to “get into the fight.” “We heard what the police chief is going to do. Now I want to know what [you’re] going to do.”

The meeting showed the commitment of the people and the commitment of the police department.

One man remarked, “I know he [the chief] is fighting a lonely battle now, but he’s brave to do this.”

[To read the full article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette written by Madasyn Czebiniak, CLICK HERE.]