"COMMUNITY CONVERSATION with the
NEW PITTSBURGH POLICE CHIEF DOM COSTA"
Staff Writer Ashley G. Woodson
23, 2006, B-PEP,
the Black Political Empowerment Project,
hosted "A COMMUNITY CONVERSATION" with new Pittsburgh
Police Chief, Dom Costa.
Tim Stevens, Chairman
of the Black Political Empowerment
Project wanted to provide an
opportunity for the new chief to create a new and positive relationship
between him (Costa) and the African American community. In the initial
interactions between Police Chief Dom Costa and B-PEP,
it appeared that this would be his mission. B-PEP
urged the community to turn out in significant numbers to begin
to initiate a breakthrough in police community relations.
Costa came from a
neighborhood that was mixed. When he is wearing a uniform he
is the Police Chief and when he is out of uniform he is a part of
the community. When asked about his interactions with the community,
Costa said, "You have to meet people and they have to have
confidence in their leaders. If police officers are not respectful
to people in the community, then I will deal with it".
Gilliam, a Homewood resident who lost her son due to
gun violence, said, "They took the former police officer
away from Homewood which was a big mistake. We need to get to know
the officers. We were not threatened by the past officers. Government
issued guns were bought by street people in Homewood from police
officers. Costa replied, "In an ideal world, I would like
to think their is no corruption, but I know there is". We are
four months behind in tracking guns. In the past ten years there
has not been a gun bust and until we increase the number of gun
bust, we will not reduce the number of homicides. E-TRACE is a free
service that allows police to get serial numbers from guns and trace
where it came from within a 24 hour period.
There were different
topics discussed throughout the meeting for the new police chief
to address. Carmen Brown mentioned
that her son and nephew were walking across Larimer Bridge and a
police officer stopped them and accused them of having drugs in
their possession. They both told the officer that they did not have
any drugs on them, but they were arrested and went to court anyway.
Costa said that he will look into the matter.
Adams wanted to know what Costa was going to do so African
Americans can see a likeness of themselves on the police force.
"We are looking into it now. The police department should
reflect the community and have recruitment all year around",
Khalid Rasheed addressed the issues of youth and police.
He said, "Many young blacks are being criminalized. It starts
at the grassroots level with the interaction between youth and police
Hutchinson said, "Accountability starts at home.
Dom Costa is
not responsible to raise our kids. We all have to work together.
Costa will look into
all matters and issues discussed at the meeting and he will get
back to B-PEP
with progress reports.
OUT THE EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS RIGHT