Allegheny County police resume patrols in downtown Pittsburgh

Allegheny County police officers are back to patrolling downtown Pittsburgh.

It’s a quick reversal after Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced the patrols, which began in early February, were coming to an end on March 7.

Pittsburgh Public Safety confirmed that the assistance from Allegheny County police began again on Monday.

“This was a collaborative decision between the city and county leadership and the leadership of both police agencies,” Pittsburgh police spokesperson Cara Cruz said in a statement. “There will be consistent communication and evaluation of needs before any changes are made to this partnership going forward.”

According to Councilmember Bobby Wilson, the city is working to beef up its own police presence downtown as well.

“We’re really responding to the public and their need to see some presence with police so people feel safe coming back downtown,” Wilson said.

Initially, Allegheny County officers were helping while the city recruited and assigned additional officers.

Wilson said improving downtown should also consist of adding resources to combat issues like mental health and homelessness.

“I think it’s important to recognize that we’re not going to be able to police our way out of every problem that we see downtown,” Wilson said. “We know the needs of people that are struggling downtown and we have to be mindful of how we’re actually helping those individuals as well.”

It’s unclear how long Allegheny County officers will be back downtown, but a spokesperson said their presence will be during daylight hours.

Justin Kinkead, who works downtown, feels the additional officers could be better used at night.

“I think that if there’s going to be any negative activity, it’s probably going to happen in the evenings,” Kinkead said.

11 News reached out to Mayor Gainey’s office about the decision to reinstate these patrols downtown, but did not hear back.

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