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Police Chief, FOP Head Clash Over Pride Stickers On Patrol Cars

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Pittsburgh Police Chief and head of the Fraternal Order of Police are clashing over LGBT Pride Month stickers on police patrol cars.

If you haven't seen the Pittsburgh Pride decal on police cruisers yet, you likely will soon. Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert is all for it.

"It's just a way of letting the community know we are part of the community," Schubert said.

They decided to go with the stickers to show they support diversity around the city -- and the communities they serve.

The initiative was discussed a month ago and two decals have already debuted. They are Police Memorial Week and Special Olympics. However, it's Pittsburgh Pride that has people talking.

(Photo Credit: Bryce Lutz/KDKA)

This decal just made its debut Friday. It's the third of nine decals Pittsburgh Police will display on their vehicles.

FOP President Robert Swartzwelder is against the idea. He didn't want to go on camera but stated quote:

"We have a variety of taxpayers in the city of Pittsburgh with different viewpoints, which can create controversy if support for different events is shown."

"We want to be an inclusive police department. An inclusive city. To be honest I was appalled when I saw the statement by the FOP. It just goes against what we're trying to accomplish with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and police departments around the city," Schubert said.

"Pittsburgh Pride started as a celebration of the LGBT community, but started in 1969 as a riot against the police and it's sad the president of the FOP would take that stance," President of the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh Gary Van Horn said.

The community support decals will be put on five to six vehicles in each zone.

"I think pride is something we should take pride in. We take pride in diversification here so why not pride," decal supporter Diana Vahabzadeh said.

"If we're trying to become unified and do things together, I think it's a good idea," another decal supporter said.

But, other folks feel that showing support for various events can bring controversy with it. They say they want police to keep things simple.

"Just put the police logo on it, that's it," one man who's against the decals said.

Pittsburgh Police Spokesperson Sonya Toler says these decals are not coming out of the city's pocket. The Fleet Management Company the city contracts with created them at no cost.

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