It seems as though the scabrous MSM has neglected to fully explicate the Mark DeSantis proposal for public safety -- except to comment upon the antics of a certain North Side grocery store proprietor, who co-opted the big press conference. (P-G, Timothy McNulty)
The Comet promises to revisit the impressions of Mr. Walt Davis, but in the meanwhile, Here We Go:
1. We have 30 police officers dedicated to community oriented policing. I want the entire department dedicated to community-oriented policing.
This is truly the entirety of any possible public safety plan. Community buy-in is a must, but also, and frequently overlooked, police buy-in is even musterer.
Whether or not and how the communities and law-enforcement are made to cooperate is really the be-all and end-all of any possible public safety stratagem. WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!!!11!!!! Kudos to Mark DeSantis for at least acknowledging that we must be doing more and better.
2. Wherever possible, any function currently being performed that doesn't result in arrests or time spent by an officer in the community will be civilianized, computerized or eliminated.
If this is really a problem, and if this is realistic, then booyaugh! More officers on the streets can only be good. If we are truly utilizing cops to deliver interoffice mail and the such, as Act 47 and the Consent Decree have discouraged us, then we should cease at once, as we should have ceased long ago.
3. Police should be hired and promoted based on merit, not seniority or patronage.
Well, this would be good. We're not sure whether or not this is possible under the current FOP collective bargaining agreement, but it seems like a "gimme" of an idea.
4. I will reinvigorate the Public Safety Council. The Public Safety Council, which represents each of the city's 88 neighborhoods, will meet regularly with police, fire, health, building and code enforcement officers to identify problem areas in the city and develop strategies for solving them.
We can't comment too much upon this. We don't know what in blazes the Public Safety Council is. Therefore, we assume it to be an inviting candidate for re-invigoration.
5. BROKEN-WINDOW POLICING: I've taken this idea from New York City, where it made a huge difference. As Mayor, I will have a zero tolerance policy for crime, no matter how small.
This sounds like maybe a bit of hollow rhetoric. We're unsure what emptying the pockets of every passerby will do for a target neighborhood, but then again we're unsure of whether we have the manpower to actually pull off a Guilliani-type crackdown.
Our final thoughts: we have a solid and very ambitious plan on the table. Mark DeSantis says he wants to make Pittsburgh "the safest city in America." He is aiming awful high -- but surely he has picked the correct issue on which to aim so high, hasn't he?
His plan invites us to ask: where is Luke Ravenstahl aiming? And what is his plan for getting us there? Security cameras alone, IOHO, are never going to get us where we need to be.