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Public safety center opens in Downtown Pittsburgh

Public safety center opens in Downtown Pittsburgh
Public safety center opens in Downtown Pittsburgh 02:38

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There have been repeated calls for safety in Downtown Pittsburgh. 

On Wednesday, a new public safety center opened through a private-public partnership. The center is on Wood Street right across from PNC Tower. Pittsburgh Police and city leaders are hoping this will change some of the perceptions of people within the Golden Triangle.

New Pittsburgh Police substation opening today 01:49

The substation is in the heart of the business district, blocks away from Market Square and near Point Park University, one of the largest Downtown landowners.

"We're focused on keeping Downtown safe. We're focused on ensuring it's vibrant for the businesses. It's vibrant for the homeowners. It's vibrant for the visitors," Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto said.

He said one of the challenges they have in Downtown is the changing of policing they must do. Officers must address people who are dealing with being unhoused, battling addiction and other needs that traditional policing might not address.

"We have to offer resources to various people, but to do that we have to be dedicated," Scirotto said.

This new location has 16 officers, two sergeants, one lieutenant and one commander. The center is open from 8 a.m. to midnight every day. This location came about after the pilot program of having a substation at Liberty Avenue and Market Street. 

The Zone 2 headquarters in the Hill District will not be impacted.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt credited PNC with helping to make this new location a reality.

"We took a lot of things we had at the Northview Heights Public Safety Center and brought that down here," Schmidt said.

While Downtown continues to recover and reimagine itself after the pandemic, Mayor Ed Gainey says it won't ever be perfect. He hopes his office can continue moving the region, known as the city's heartbeat, in the right direction.

"We need to progress. We need to make sure that every day we come to work, every single day we come to work, that we collaborate to make this the best city in America," Gainey said.

Other civil services like the co-response team are also expected to move into the facility. They're designed to help needs that police may not be best suited to address. 

According to public safety leaders, this spot will be more conducive to community meetings and will act as a command post for large Downtown events

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