Pittsburgh to foot bill for police working Market Square during St. Patrick's Day
The city of Pittsburgh will foot the bill for the police officers working in Market Square during St. Patrick's Day festivities this year, public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said on Tuesday.
That's a change from previous years when some Downtown businesses paid for dozens of off-duty officers to ensure the safety of revelers on one of the city's busiest — and rowdiest — days. Drunken fights and arrests marred previous St. Patrick's Day celebrations, highlighted by a Downtown parade and Market Square party.
“It's going to be a safe day, no matter what we have to do internally,” Toler said.
Police administrators sought about 50 off-duty officers to work March 15 in Market Square, but few signed up as officers privately discussed a possible boycott of off-hours details.
Public Safety Director Michael Huss changed the policy that governs such extra security work for officers last year. Changes include prohibiting direct cash payments to officers for their work and establishing a set rate of pay for officers based on rank. Before, officers could negotiate their own rates.
Sgt. Mike LaPorte, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, said officers talked about boycotting details because many were upset about the changes, but nothing was decided. They have been a point of friction between Huss and the union since January, when LaPorte wrote Mayor Bill Peduto that Huss had lost the FOP's confidence.
“You shouldn't be using taxpayer dollars to pay for a private event,” LaPorte said. “I hate to see them jeopardize the safety of the general public and take people out of the patrol zones just for that event.”
Toler could not say how much it will cost the city to pay the officers this St. Patrick's Day. LaPorte said union members voted not to walk in this year's parade because of manpower concerns.
Event organizers have said about 150,000 people usually line Downtown's streets for the parade, one of the nation's largest.
In 2012, the city established a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration in Market Square. Then the square opened to adult festivities, including street sales of beer.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 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.
- Newsmaker: Laurie Sanders
- Beloved North Side gardener gets new truck, paid for by her neighbors
- PennDOT says inbound Fort Pitt Tunnel will close around-the-clock this weekend
- Woman, 77, dies in Monroeville house fire
- Psychiatrist: Man accused of setting Homestead fire not competent to stand trial
- 2 arrested in Wilkinsburg shooting
- Wintry mix of rain, freezing rain and snow bearing down on Pittsburgh area
- Pa. police departments worry order on criminal seizures hurts bottom line
- Police stop car in Beltzhoover, find body in back seat
- Uber gains PUC approval to operate in most of Pa. for 2 years
- Beaver County man arrested in 24-year-old Clinton County cold case