South Side bar owners balk at renewing private security applications
As many as 20 South Side bars could lose off-duty police protection unless the owners renew their applications with Pittsburgh for private security, according to an internal memo issued on Monday by the assistant police chief.
But owners are balking because the new applications imply that the city on its own can change terms, including pay and hours for off-duty officers, according to one owners' association.
“The new (application) has additional verbiage that takes away many of the individual choices of the business owners who are responsible enough to utilize those detail officers,” said Mike Papariella, president of the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association. “The business owners were told to sign the new (application) or we would be forced to go without the off-duty Pittsburgh police officers.”
Papariella said owners likely will hire private security guards if officers don't show this weekend.
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard referred questions on Tuesday to Assistant Chief Regina McDonald, who issued the memo. McDonald did not return an email requesting comment.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's office, which increased on-duty police details in the South Side because of rowdy behavior, declined to comment. City Councilman Bruce Kraus, who represents the neighborhood, did not return phone calls or emails.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mike LaPorte said McDonald violated the union's contract by changing policy for police who moonlight as private security guards. He said the union has filed a grievance with the city.
Papariella said as many as 35 officers typically work at bars on weekends and as many as 20 tavern owners have not renewed the applications.
“It has the propensity to strip about 30 officers off the street,” LaPorte said. “It's so ironic at the very same time when the city is spending thousands of dollars every weekend to amp up enforcement, there are officers who are being funded by private means that you're going to get rid of.”
The city last year paid California-based Responsible Hospitality Institute $100,000 to study the South Side, Downtown and Lawrenceville and recommend ways to improve public safety and nightlife.
City Council on Tuesday introduced legislation to pay the company another $100,000 to coordinate implementation of suggestions, including developing police teams trained to deal with drunken revelers and transportation improvements to safely move people in and out of the South Side.
Ravenstahl in January announced increased weekend police patrols and building inspections in the South Side after five police officers fired shots at a driver involved in a chase along Carson Street while the street was crowded with bar patrons.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Medical examiner: Dormont man found near incline died of multiple injuries
- Inmate assaults Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputy at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
- Homicide by vehicle trial of Munhall man Brezicky closes; verdict Monday
- Allegheny Intermediate Unit to distribute $530,000 in STEAM grants to 28 school districts
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto works to smooth path for business ties with Cuba
- Dormont man missing since Wednesday found dead at Station Square
- 11 vying to temporarily fill Danko’s vacant seat on Allegheny County Council
- Pittsburgh police arrest Carrick man for Allentown playground shooting
- Bethel Park teacher’s profane tweet raises eyebrows
- U.S. Marshals task force arrests homicide suspect in Monroeville
- Penn Hills votes to sell, lease vacant school space