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Community Group Seeking Signatures To Create Citizen Police Review Board In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A community group is knocking on doors and looking to get signatures to create a police review board in the city with more power than the current one.

Their hope is to get enough signatures to get the proposition on the ballot this November.

So far, they've received 3,000 signatures and plenty more to go.

Community Control Over Police says they're committed but know it's an uphill battle.

The countdown is on, they now have less than three weeks to get 12,500 signatures on paper. Their goal is to bring an elected police review board to the city of Pittsburgh, replacing the current one with new standards.

"With the power to hire, fire, discipline police officers, set policy, set budgets, and also negotiate police contracts instead of that being the sole authority of the mayor," one of the activists said.

The police budget has increased just about every year since current Mayor Bill Peduto took office.

Part of what this group hopes to get done, is getting police funding reallocated.

"Put that money toward public education, well-funded, good affordable jobs and affordable housing, which is one of the reasons we see an uptick in crime, even as the police budget goes up," said Steve Capri.

Each weekend for the past month and a half, the group has knocked on doors for signatures and on Saturday, they were on the North Side.

"We got to realize what people really want is direct control," Capri said. "They don't just want to argue every time the police budget comes up. Reimagining what public safety in the city looks like. Thinking about what people having control of their communities looks like."

They believe electing people to the board is really the only way to get this done.

"What we need is people to have a direct say," Capri said. "Elect people that have power that they are accountable to us as individuals through elections and have real power to control what the police do."

The deadline to get all signatures is August 3, but they say even if they don't get the required amount of signatures, they'll continue their push for the board.

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