What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 17, 2007

Public Hearing Tomorrow on Pittsburgh Police & Domestic Violence Bill

WHAT: Public Hearing - Bill No. 2007-1797
WHEN: Thursday, October 18, 2007, 9:30 A.M.
WHERE: Pittsburgh City Council Chambers, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Corner of Grant & Forbes, 5th Floor)

There will be a public hearing tomorrow in Pittsburgh City Council Chambers on Bill No. 2007-1797 introduced by Council President Doug Shields on September 25, 2007.

The bill was created to address the concerns originally caused by the promotion of three police officers with a history of domestic violence allegations on June 18.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette identified 35 officers who have had protection-from-abuse orders taken out on them since 1992.

The full text of the bill can be found at:

Several women's and domestic violence groups (including Jeanne Clark of the National Organization for Women) were instrumental in making sure that the issue of police with domestic violence histories was addressed.

However, Bill No. 2007-1797 has been met with some criticism.

As is to be expected, the police union is not happy with it:
Pittsburgh's police union charged yesterday that a proposed ordinance to address officer-involved domestic violence amounts to "police bashing" and "overkill."
Meanwhile, not a few charge that the bill does not go far enough. From a September 26th P-G article:

But Elizabeth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board, said she found Mr. Shields' bill lacking.

An effective ordinance "has to be more explicit in its expectation of employee conduct, and it has to be more explicit in the consequences," Ms. Pittinger said.

Also lacking, she said, was language dealing with officers who are subjects of protection orders but have not been charged with crimes
Gloria Forouzan, founder of Run, Baby, Run, is also quoted in that article, but you can read an extended version of her objections here at The Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society (including this gem: "The ordinance assures us that the Police Bureau's brass will “strongly consider” not hiring people with abusive/violent tendencies. Wow, that's really reassuring. Are they kidding?").

Additionally, a Post-Gazette editorial from the beginning of this month stated that the ordinance was a good start but "needs more work."

Doug Shields has said that he considers the bill to be a first step and that there will be additional legislation.

In other words: there's still loads to discuss on this issue which is why I urge all who can to attend the meeting tomorrow.

And, if there's any question that domestic violence is violence -- is a crime and not just a family matter -- please take a look at the following remarkable and gut-wrenching 20/20 report which has as its centerpiece a video of an abuser who was crazy enough to have his 13 year-old son videotape him emotionally and then physically abusing his wife:

UPDATE: You can call the City Clerk to testify at tomorrow's hearing at 412-255-2138. You can still speak for one minute (only) even if you don't sign up, but you'll be at the end of the line.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We can add this hearing to the list of stuff that Luke blows off.