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Carnegie/Bridgeville

Carnegie Police Chief responds to letter to editor about size of department

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, 11:09 a.m.

To the editor,

I have read the recent letter, “Why does Carnegie have so many police officers?” I appreciate the critical eye of the author of this letter, however I would like to rebut his findings.

The author of this article states:

According to the U. S. Department of Justice the recommended number of police officers in a community should be 1 per 1000 people. Carnegie’s population is 7898 people and is 1-square mile geographically. Eight police officers are recommended. Carnegie employs 14 police officers or six above recommended.

The old FBI standard of 1 police officer per 1000 citizens is outdated and inefficient. More progressive agencies do their homework and recommend manpower staffing levels based on hard data to present to their community leaders. The newest standard released by the FBI in 2011 states that communities throughout the country that have 10,000 residents or less average 3.5 officers per 1,000 residents. Based on this standard, Carnegie should have 28 officers. Much goes into consideration when determining how many police officers are needed in a community including call volume, crime and the mere presence of officers to deter crime. On an average, the Carnegie Police Department either answers or self-initiate over 9,000 calls a year. This includes calls for emergency service, traffic & parking enforcement as well as non-emergency calls for service. The Carnegie Police Department also handles investigations as a result of those calls for service. The Carnegie Police Department protects Carnegie Borough and Pennsbury Village Borough seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The author has his facts incorrect when he states “Carnegie employs 14 police officers.” Carnegie employees 13 officers and has never employed 14 officers. The author also states Carnegie Borough is 1-square mile. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Borough of Carnegie is 1.6-square miles in size.

The author of this article states:

Why was the decision made to hire so many additional officers ?

I have been with the Carnegie Police Department for over 31 years and the department has always had between 12 and 13 full-time officers. There was no decision made to hire additional officers. Any less staffing would be unsafe for the community as well as my officers.

The author of this article states:

Under the new contract, full pay for five years is $39.72 per hour. Why was such a wage increase agreed to considering that level of income?

If one was to investigate the salaries of the police departments in the South and West Hills of Pittsburgh the investigation would conclude the Carnegie Police Department is below the salaries of neighboring communities with the exception of one community. Here are the facts when it comes to salaries:

2019 Carnegie patrol officers hourly salary- $39.72

2019 Neighboring community patrol officer hourly salary- $45.35

2019 Neighboring community patrol officer hourly salary- $43.83

2019 Neighboring community patrol officer hourly salary- $48.18

2019 Neighboring community patrol officer hourly salary- $39.83

2019 Neighboring community patrol officer hourly salary- $37.35

In order to maintain veteran leadership as well as attract young officers, the community must pay them accordingly, which Carnegie Borough does. Fiscal responsibility has indeed been considered by the community leaders.

Carnegie has come a long ways in development and reduction of crime in the past 10 years. This could be contributed to many things but I assure you the staffing, professionalism, training and dedication of my officers are one of them.

Jeffrey L. Kennedy

Chief of Police

Carnegie Police Department

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