By Brett Gillin
With some public perception of the police force on shaky ground, the Pittsburgh Police Department has decided to take proactive measures to help minimize any future problems. Their latest effort involves the creation (or more accurately, updating) of a pamphlet titled “You and The Police.” This pamphlet is designed to inform the public on ways to ensure that any interactions with their police force go as smoothly as possible, and minimize the risks to both the police officer and the citizen.
According to this article on WPXI.com, the pamphlet was officially released on Monday for public consumption. It is being distributed by local churches and schools, and has already been handed out to Pittsburgh police officers. The brochure details actions that people should and should not take whenever they interact with a police officer.
The pamphlet was not put together solely by the Pittsburgh Police Department. Instead, it is a joint effort of law enforcement officials, civil rights activists, and legal experts, according to this article on Triblive.com.
One of the people who helped work on the pamphlet, Tim Stevens, the president and founder of the Black Political Empowerment Project, told reporters with WPXI “Our goal with this document is to prevent negative incidents between the community and the police wherever we can.”
Although the pamphlet has only been on the streets for a few days, it is already getting great reviews from the community. “I think most of us in the civil rights community perceive the new administration, and in particular the new chief, as wanting to do the right thing, in terms of improving police accountability and improving police-community relations,” Vic Walczak, the Legal Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania told reporters with Triblive.
The pamphlet was originally released back in 1996, and has recently been updated with minor changes reflecting updates to laws. Among the tips that the pamphlet spells out:
- When being pulled over, be sure to pull over right away and into a well-lit area.
- If it is dark outside, turn on the dome lights of your car
- Place the car in park and turn off the ignition
- Keep your hands on the top of the steering wheel as the officer approaches
“Those may seem like little things,” Walczak said, “but they can make the difference between life and death.”
A printable version of the pamphlet can be accessed here.