Peduto, staff meet with Zappala about leaks on police investigations

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Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto met with District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. on Wednesday -- the first such meeting of the new mayor's term.

The premise of the meeting, Mr. Zappala said, was to discuss public safety issues in the city, including leaks by the police department in the recent homicides of two sisters in East Liberty.

The DA criticized the city administration and police department earlier this month about the amount of information released during the investigation into the deaths of Susan and Sarah Wolfe.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zappala explained his concerns to Mr. Peduto.

"Evidence in a case clearly should not be discussed," Mr. Zappala said. "They have to advise the public about issues that might affect the public, but that can be done without disseminating evidence."

Sonya Toler, the spokeswoman for the police bureau who attended the meeting, denied that it included any discussion about the Wolfe investigation or the leaks.

"We did not talk about anything regarding individual cases," Ms. Toler said.

She said that police department policy requires that all information be released through her and that has been the policy since before she took over the position last month.

Mr. Zappala and Mr. Peduto also discussed ideas to implement the use of more technology within the police department -- including creating policies for the use of lapel cameras on officers responding to calls, and improving lighting and surveillance in city neighborhoods.

"It's a great tool," Mr. Zappala said. "It's objective evidence."

Public safety director Mike Huss also attended.

"I believe everyone around the table had some working knowledge of each other," said Ms. Toler, who characterized the talks as pleasant.

Paula Reed Ward:, 412-263-2620 or Twitter @PaulaReedWard.

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