PITTSBURGH, PA, (December 21, 2021) – On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, Jim Rogers was placed in Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP) custody after officers responded to a call in Bloomfield. The officer on scene deployed his Taser during the response. Following his arrest, Mr. Rogers was transported to Mercy Hospital by police, where he passed away the following day.
Pursuant to policy, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police empaneled an internal Critical Incident Review Board (CIRB) to evaluate officers’ actions and gauge policy compliance. Additionally, the Allegheny County Police Department is independently investigating the incident with the full cooperation of the PBP. Over the course of two months, the CIRB has reviewed evidence including all available video, officer statements and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police general orders and training. The Board found that a series of procedural failures contributed to this tragic outcome.
Eight Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers, including two supervisors, will face varying levels of discipline in accordance with the Fraternal Order of Police collective bargaining agreement. We are not permitted to discuss details of the disciplinary process.
In recent years, the City of Pittsburgh implemented several measures to ensure accountability, including mandatory de-escalation and implicit bias training for officers and participation in The National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice, which examines policy and aims to increase trust within our community. However, it is clear more needs to be done.
Therefore, the CIRB recommended the following policy and procedural changes:
Any use of force incident will require the presence of a supervisor on scene to complete a medical assessment and request appropriate personnel
Any incident involving the positive deployment of a Taser will require emergency medical services personnel to assess the patient
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police personnel will be retrained in accordance with established PBP Training Academy Duty to Intervene policy
PBP will streamline its organizational review of Use of Force by both appropriate command staff and the Training Academy to expeditiously ensure policy compliance
“It is imperative that every critical incident is reviewed promptly,” said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich. “By identifying the problem, it allows us to expeditiously make corrections that are put into policy in a timely manner.”
Immediately following this incident, all sworn PBP officers were required to complete a Taser refresher course followed by an exam. This course is in addition to the yearly mandated Taser recertification requirement for all officers.
Further, the PBP will require its officers to become fully certified Emergency Medical Responders.
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police would like to express its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Jim Rogers. We thank them for their patience in affording the CIRB the time and latitude to investigate the events that led up to his tragic death.
“Jim Rogers will serve as a sober reminder of the tremendous responsibility all officers bear when they wear the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police badge. Every resident and visitor to the City of Pittsburgh is owed the highest standard of care when they are in the custody of Pittsburgh Police. In the case of Jim Rogers, we failed our fellow citizen. The disciplinary measures and procedural changes we are announcing today are intended to ensure a tragedy such as this never occurs again in the City of Pittsburgh,” said Police Chief, Scott Schubert.
Pittsburgh Public Safety will not be offering any further comment at this time.