Pittsburgh City Council passes bill on police response to domestic violence calls

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Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill Tuesday that would change the way police officers respond to domestic violence calls.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Ricky Burgess, would require the police bureau to receive training in the Lethality Assessment Program, a protocol piloted in Maryland that standardizes how police should interact with domestic violence victims. In some cases, it calls for them to give the victim a questionnaire to determine their risk for homicide or serious injury. If the risk is serious, the protocol calls for the officer to encourage the victim to seek help through a domestic violence hotline and, in some cases, places the call for them.

Mr. Burgess wrote the legislation after the death of 33-year-old Ka'Sandra Wade. She was found slain less than 24 hours after she called 911, but the call was disconnected after call-takers heard a commotion. Officers who answered the call spoke to her boyfriend, Anthony Brown, who later confessed to killing her. He later committed suicide.

Mr. Burgess has said he believes the training, which will cost the city $25,000, will "save lives."

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.


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