More than 3K officers to help at Pittsburgh G-20 summit


By Adam Brandolph
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

PITTSBURGH, Penn. — City officials Tuesday firmed up some details about how they will handle 3,100 extra police officers expected to help with security during the Group of 20 economic summit next month.

The law department finalized a proposed agreement the city would have with any police department sending officers for the Sept. 24-25 meeting of world leaders at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

According to the agreement, which City Council must approve, officers from other municipalities or states must be physically fit to do what is asked of them; have a minimum two years' of service; be in good standing within their departments; and not be the subject of a First Amendment claim, excessive use of force lawsuit or internal affairs investigation during the past three years.

"We want to make sure the personnel we're getting are the best and brightest, and are trained and experienced in the types of things we're going to call upon them for," said Public Safety Director Michael Huss.

Officers from out of town will train in Pittsburgh on Sept. 23, though Huss declined to say what kind of training they would receive. They will use their own equipment and conform to local regulations and standards, he said.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said $16 million state and federal officials committed to the city this month will be enough to handle public safety costs, including insurance.

"I know the $20 million number has been mentioned but we're comfortable that the $16 million will allow us to fulfill our needs without putting any local dollars in," he said.

The city will not be responsible for worker's compensation or other costs if an officer from outside the city were to get hurt, according to the agreement. The city will provide lodging for officers and reimburse law enforcement agencies for transportation to Pittsburgh, it said.

The security perimeter, plans to close the city's parking garages and public transportation routes have not been finalized. Ravenstahl said the city's goal is to focus on safety, and that residents would hear about plans when they become finalized.

"(The Secret Service is) running the show here and they're not going to sacrifice public safety. They'll let us know and let us make an announcement when they're comfortable and ready," Ravenstahl said. "They haven't set any deadlines or timeframes."

Ravenstahl asked council to approve the agreement and other ordinances by the first week of September. Council members are scheduled to meet Friday.

Copyright 2009 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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