Pittsburgh PD Cuts Overnight Staff

The Pittsburgh Police Department announced that it would be cutting much of its overnight staffing and stating that police will not respond during certain hours unless there is an ongoing emergency. The move comes in a city that suffers from some of the highest crime rates in Pennsylvania during a wave of increased crime over the past five years.

The police department announced that the restructuring would result in reduced coverage from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. daily, including on Saturday and Sunday.

Pittsburgh’s city website says that the new Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) would be assigned reports for “calls that do not require an in-person response by officers.”

The site says that the unit would “NOT be assigned to any “In Progress” call where a suspect may be on scene, any crime where a person may need medical aid, any domestic dispute, calls with evidence or where the Mobile Crime Unit will be requested to process a scene.”

The department also announced that during those overnight hours, there would be no desk officers on duty at its six police stations. Instead, the department installed call boxes linked to 911.

The city will have only 22 officers to cover the entire city of 300,000 during some shifts.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto said that the reduced staff would be “enough to cover the entire city in those hours when we have 8% of the time people are calling … I’m confident in the decisions that we make, that it impacts this bureau and this city in much better way than we have in the past.”

The Pittsburgh Police Department has also struggled with significant staffing shortages in recent years. The city had 835 officers at the start of last year, compared to a full staffing of 900. Currently, the department has 740 officers.

The police chief said that normally two-thirds of the department’s calls come between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. He said that the situation led to the officers “running one shift ragged, under-resourcing it, and over-resourcing another. That was why I thought this exercise was so important.”