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PITTSBURGH, PA (June 12, 2020) The Office of Mayor William Peduto, Office of Equity and Department of Public Safety have announced their blueprint for a new Office of Community Health and Safety. The office will redirect city resources to better meet community needs by housing social services, public health and social work experts who can assist first responders in situations that require longer-term assistance, harm reduction support and other services.
“Our public safety personnel are available 24/7 but often go into situations that are beyond the scope of their training. The individuals and communities they encounter need help beyond law enforcement or emergency medical attention,” Mayor William Peduto said. “This office will allow public safety to step back and determine what kind of support an individual or family needs and get them that help through social workers or other agencies so that we're seeing people holistically and connecting them with more sustainable resources and assistance.”
The proposed office will operate under the co-direction of the Department of Public Safety and Office of the Mayor. The goals and directives of the office are to:
The preliminary areas of focus for community support include:
These areas of focus are dynamic and subject to change based on input from the community and situations most commonly encountered by public safety personnel.
"This initiative will give the community relations units in all bureaus as well as all police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel the support that is critical to improving not just our high standards of service, but also our relationships with the community," said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.
The Mayor’s Office and Department of Public Safety will work with City Council to determine reallocations in the 2021 budget and identify additional external funding opportunities for this initiative.