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Councilman wants better public safety

Tony LaRussa
| Saturday, June 11, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

Finding a way to reopen the Zone 4 police station will be the priority for Daniel J. Deasy Jr., who was sworn in Friday on Pittsburgh City Council.

"The No. 1 issue residents mentioned during the campaign was public safety. They told me they didn't feel safe walking down the streets to get a cup of coffee or a newspaper. We need to change that," said Deasy, a 17-year veteran of the city's Public Works Department.

"Our police do a great job, but they are spread too thin. We need to increase police presence in our neighborhoods, and the way to do that is by reopening the Zone 4 station," Deasy said.

The Zone 4 police station in West End was closed in 2003 as part of a budget-crunch induced reorganization of the city's Bureau of Police.

Zone 4 was merged into the Zone 3 station on the South Side to create the largest of the five remaining police patrol districts.

Deasy, 38, of Westwood, pulled in about 75 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Samuel C. Berninger in a May 17 special election. He replaces Alan Hertzberg, who resigned from the District 2 seat in March to fill a vacancy on the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

Deasy also led a field of four other Democrats to win his party's nomination in the May 17 primary. He will face off with Berninger, 28, of Sheraden, again in November with a four-year term going to the winner.

Deasy was joined in City Council chambers yesterday by his wife, Kelly, and their four children -- Alyssa, 6, Danielle, 4, Thomas, 3, and Abigail, 1. Scores of well-wishers were there as he took the oath of office administered by District Judge Carla Swearingen.

While Deasy said he is committed to working with the Murphy administration and the city's state-backed financial recovery team, he is concerned about proposals to privatize some city services such as garbage collection.

"I think our city employees do a good job and have a lot of solid ideas on how to do things better," Deasy said. "I think privatization will reduce the quality of service, which is something we want to avoid."

He will be paid $53,687 a year.

District 2 comprises Banksville, Chartiers City, Crafton Heights, Duquesne, East Carnegie, Elliott, Esplen, Fairywood, Mt. Washington, Oakwood, Ridgemont, Sheraden, Windgap, West End and Westwood.

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