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Blame misdirected

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The news story “Pittsburgh councilman releases police job records; groups seek input on new chief” (Feb. 28 and TribLIVE.com) has several glaring weaknesses.

Councilman Patrick Dowd estimates 200,000 hours were spent on off-duty jobs by Pittsburgh police officers in 2012. Isn't that 200,000 hours when the city enjoyed police protection without a dollar from city coffers to pay for it?

Furthermore, the city earned around $800,000 each year for the last several years on the backs of these officers. Granted, it appears the money has been misappropriated, but that obviously has nothing to do with the men and women who protected this city on their own time, in less than optimum conditions.

More to my chagrin were the ridiculous comments made by Councilman Ricky Burgess and Black Political Empowerment Project chairman Tim Stevens regarding the next chief, who Stevens said must hire more minorities and improve relations with residents, especially in black neighborhoods.

First, the city and former Chief Nate Harper did everything they could to hire more minorities, absent Burgess' mindless suggestion that the police lower their standards. The standards should remain, and applicants should rise to those standards.

Second, relations with the black community have always been a priority with any chief. The police department was established to enforce laws. If the black neighborhoods Stevens speaks of have a problem with the department, they need to be introspective in their assessments of their community and their historically high black-on-black crime rate, rather than blaming the former chief and the department.

Francesco Rosato Jr.

The writer is a Pittsburgh police officer who works out of the Zone 4 station.

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