State lawmakers to hold public hearing on community-police relations Tuesday

July 14, 2018 GMT

State Democrats are holding a public hearing Tuesday on improving relations between police officers and the communities where they work.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman J. McDonough; American Civil Liberty Union Legislative Director Elizabeth Randol; Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist; Wilkinsburgh Police Chief Ophelia Coleman, and activist Leon Ford, are planning to speak at the event, a news release said.

The public event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at Hosanna House, Wallace Event Center, 807 Wallace Ave., in Wilkinsburg.

Activists have been calling for increased training and diversity education for the county’s more than 100 police departments since East Pittsburgh officer Michael Rosfeld shot and killed unarmed teen Antwon Rose last month. East Pittsburgh Police Department has no written policies or procedures, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said.

State Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, and State Rep. Edward Gainey, D-Lincoln-Lemington, requested the hearing, according to a news release from Senate Democrats. State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline; Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport; Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District, and Rep. Austin Davis, D-McKeesport, will also participate in the public hearing, the release said.

Costa is planning to introduce legislation that would require municipalities to adopt use of deadly force policies, provide cultural training and a central database for storing officer employee histories. The Allegheny County Council Tuesday took a step toward creating a countywide citizens’ police review board. City of Pittsburgh police has such a board, but not the more than 100 other police departments in the county.