POLICE SPECIALTY UNITS

Special Deployment Division (SDD)

SDD consists of support units that provide specially trained and equipped officers citywide as well as for Region 13 of the Department of Homeland Security. All of the Specialty Units work closely with Federal, State and local law enforcement, as needed.



The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is staffed by police liaisons that work in concert with the Bureaus of Fire and EMS to facilitate seamless interagency planning, coordination, and mission execution in the following areas:

  • Prevention
  • Protection
  • Mitigation
  • Response
  • Recovery

Emergency Management Liaisons are the Bureaus hands-on representatives for working with county, region, state, and federal partners to develop plans and provide resources for all hazards plans for disasters and large-scale events happening in the Region 13 area of responsibility. Officers also maintain the Bureau’s Hazardous Materials training program to help certify members on the City of Pittsburgh Hazardous Materials Response Team.

The Bomb Squad is composed of technicians trained extensively by the F.B.I. to work through problems that consist of:

  • Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s)
  • Render Safe Procedures
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction

The unit uses state of art technology, to include numerous robots and Explosive Detection K9’s. The team also has certified SCUBA divers capable of locating underwater hazardous devices and rendering them safe.

The City of Pittsburgh utilizes specially trained K9’s and Handlers for a variety of tasks, including:

  • A Bloodhound used to search for endangered people
  • An Electronics Sniffing Dog (ESD) that can locate items containing computer chips
  • A Patrol K9 is trained to apprehend criminal offenders, locate criminal offenders that are hiding, and detect drugs or explosives.

The Handler and specially bred dogs go through an intensive 3-month training program at our K-9 Academy, and continue with monthly training and certification testing.

You can follow the K9 Unit on their Facebook page.

Working on the Mounted Patrol is a very physically demanding job. The horses are between 16 to 18 hands tall and weigh between 1300 and 1800 pounds. Our officers patrol year-round in all weather conditions, in addition to the daily care and maintenance of the horses and stables. Officers are also responsible for the transportation and training of all horses, as well as maintaining the tack gear and equipment. You will often find them participating in outreach programs and community events in and around the City of Pittsburgh.

You can follow the Mounted Patrol on their Facebook page.

The Planning Unit works closely with Community Groups, Event Organizers and other divisions of the Department of Public Safety, ensuring events within the City of Pittsburgh have adequate safety and security measures in place. It is their goal to help make every event as successful as possible, from sporting events to concerts to neighborhood block parties. It is all about the safety of everyone involved.

River Rescue is a partnership between Pittsburgh Police and the Emergency Medical Services SCUBA search and rescue team.

River Rescue responsibilities include:

  • Piloting all River Rescue vessels
  • Enforcing Commonwealth laws
  • Patrolling the three rivers and ports
  • Preventing, Responding to and mitigating waterborne emergencies

The SWAT team fulfils more than 200 missions per year. Missions include:

  • Barricaded Individuals
  • Dignitary Protection
  • High Risk Warrant Service
  • Hostage Rescue
  • Surveillance

The SWAT team provides tactical support to local, state and federal agencies, as requested.

The Traffic Division is comprised of many parts, all related to the safety of those within the City of Pittsburgh. The division is comprised of several specialized units, each filled with experts in their specific field.

  • Car Seat Inspection and Education – these officers have received extensive education in the use of safety restraint systems and gladly share the information with anyone who has questions. Their goal is to ensure that our residence have the best information and assistance available to protect their children in a vehicle.
  • Collision Investigation - The Collision Investigation Unit investigates all crashes that involve critical injuries and fatalities. The Unit is composed of officers with extensive training in crash reconstruction. Other responsibilities include:
    • Investigating all emergency vehicle crashes
    • Assist outside agencies
    • Promote highway safety through education
  • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) - The mission of the CVE is to ensure that all drivers of commercial vehicles and their vehicles operating on the road comply with federal, state and local laws. Their responsibilities include:
    • Roving Patrols
    • Stationary Checkpoints
    • Assisting local, state and federal agencies, as requested
  • Impaired Driving Unit – Their mission is to stop impaired drivers before they injure themselves or others. These officers have extensive training in the detection, evaluation and testing of impaired drivers. There are several Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) that can test for those under the influence of drugs, also causing impairment. Their mission is accomplished by several means:
    • Roving Patrols
    • Checkpoints
    • Assisting PBP officers who have detained someone suspected of driving while impaired
  • Motorcycle Unit - The Motorcycle Unit has officers assigned to it every day of the year, regardless of weather conditions. Motorcycle officers receive extensive training in the safe operation of motorcycles. Motorcycle Unit responsibilities include:
    • Traffic Safety Enforcement & Education
    • Vehicle Escorts
    • Traffic Control
    • Special Events & Community Activities
  • Tow Pound – Tow Pound personnel are tasked with maintaining the records for the more than 1000 vehicles towed each year. The vehicles are towed for differing reasons, such as parking violations, moving violation, abandonment and collisions.