Pittsburgh establishes public safety fund after outpouring of support
One person sent a $20 bill in a hand-written envelope addressed to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
A high-tech security company offered to keep a close watch on the internet for threats against the city and its residents.
Corporations and individuals have pledged donations.
Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday created a special trust fund in response to an outpouring of offers following the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting, in which four responding police officers were injured. All say they want to support the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department, according to Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle.
“This will be a special trust fund held at the Public Safety Department that will be able to support training, equipment, things of that nature,” said Lavelle of the Hill District, who chairs council’s Public Safety Service Committee. “People can reach out to the city now, and we have a means to accept their donations.”
Mayor Bill Peduto said people have offered cash donations and in-kind services, such as scouring the internet for threats. Neither he nor Lavelle knew how many offers have come in or the amounts of the offers.
“The generosity of the public through this event is their way of trying to do something in order to be able to help,” Peduto said. “In Pittsburgh we understand that when something bad happens, as Mr. Rogers told us, look for the helpers.”
Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said donations to the fund would be used exclusively for public safety training, equipment and supplies. Donations can be mailed to Treasurer, City of Pittsburgh, 400 City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, 15219.
He said the department will not accept donations for officers injured during the Tree of Life shootings.
Donations for the officers should be mailed to the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union, 1338 Chartiers Ave., Pittsburgh, 15220.
Council unanimously approved creation of the trust fund during a preliminary vote. A final vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
Peduto said the city regularly accepts state and federal grants for public safety services. He said the city had to create the trust fund to accept individual donations.
Pittsburgh and community organizations created a similar fund for a monument honoring three city police officers killed in 2009 during an ambush at a Stanton Heights home. Peduto said money in that case went to the fund and not the city.
“Just overall the trust fund will be established to be able to make sure Pittsburghers are safe,” Peduto said.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobbauder.