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Concerns Over New Pittsburgh Policing Policy: "This Is Just Not Safe"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A new policy is aimed at freeing up Pittsburgh Police officers so they can respond to more urgent matters, but some say it isn't safe.

The new policy means you won't always get an officer sent to your house if there's not much in the way of evidence to collect. Things like burglaries, theft, minor accidents. Instead, you'll give a report over the phone. Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay says it's nothing new, he's just tweaking a 10-year-old policy.

He says he wants his officers available for more community policing.

"One of the ways that you can improve your police services, while at the same time maximizing your limited available resources is by having a telephone reporting unit," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay.

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But the policy alarms councilwoman Darlene Harris. Especially when phone reports are given on crimes like harassment, simple assault and terroristic threats.

"This is just not safe. Things can escalate so fast, with issues against people," she said.

But Chief McLay says folks on the phone are trained to send help if needed.

"When in doubt, send a cop," he assures.

But Harris is so concerned, she's calling for a hearing with McLay in front of City Council.

"If something happens to somebody, the city is going to get sued. I don't think they're thinking," Harris says.

Whether or not this policy's a big deal or not, Chief McLay's going to be hauled down in front of City Council to answer some pointed questions about it.

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