The acting chief said he wanted to "boost morale" among the city’s police ranks. He said he’s received steady feedback that the ordinance is “preventing them from doing their jobs.”
January 16, 2023

Even though there is a 2021 ordinance preventing Pittsburgh Police from doing so without a heavier infraction, law enforcement officers have been instructed to resume imposing minor traffic violations — such as an expired registration sticker or a poorly secured license plate.

WESA reports:

A spokesperson for the department said the memo came as a result of “recent changes in state law.” But some legal experts question whether there’s sufficient reason to compel a reversal of the policy.

The city ordinance prohibits Pittsburgh police officers from pulling over a motorist if the primary reason is one of eight minor traffic violations. (Officers could pull over a motorist for another reason and still issue a ticket for a secondary infraction.) Advocates argued that racial bias can lead to disproportionate enforcement against Black and Latino residents. The ordinance was an attempt to mitigate those disparities modeled on similar legislation in Philadelphia.

According to Pittsburgh Police data, Black residents make up only about 22% of the city’s population but accounted for 42% of traffic stops in 2021.

According to the outlet, a public information officer for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police said that the procedure dictated by the ordinance “was pulled down by Acting Chief [Thomas] Stangrecki to be reviewed in light of recent changes in state law.”

Sure thing, buddy. They probably should have let residents know about this, though.

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