Fraternal Order of Police President Daniel O'Hara protests too much ("Police Review Board Director Shows Her Bias," March 19 letters). His attack on the Citizen Police Review Board and its executive director, Elizabeth Pittinger, serves instead to validate her public statements, the value of the CPRB and the Post-Gazette's March 18 editorial ("Deadly Pursuit").
Ms. Pittinger raises important questions about police procedures and public safety. Characterizing her and the CPRB as biased or unprofessional is either shockingly ignorant or a deliberate smokescreen. The police, the FOP and their allies have a long history of disrespecting and resisting the CPRB. In fact, Ms. Pittinger and the CPRB are well-informed and objective.
Why shoot the messenger rather than addressing the substance of her questions?
It is not at all clear that the Bureau of Police's own Office of Municipal Investigations alone can provide adequate safeguards against police misconduct. It was because the Bureau of Police and its OMI habitually protected and concealed a pattern of misconduct that CPRB was created, by public referendum. In the absence of Justice Department oversight since the consent decree expired, and without an elected coroner to conduct public inquests, CPRB is the only remaining independent agency shining a light beyond the Blue Wall.
Ms. Pittinger's salary and the budget of the CPRB, whose board serves without pay, are bargains in a city where foxes like Mr. O'Hara guard the henhouse. The CPRB's meetings and hearings are open to the public. A regular business meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 28 in City Council Chambers, 510 City-County Building, 414 Grant St., Downtown. Attend, and judge for yourself.
MARK and TRIS OZARK
The writers are coordinating council members of the Black and White Reunion, as are Robert Maddock, Major A. Mason III and Craig Stevens, who also signed this letter. In addition, the letter was signed by Billy Jackson, Tim Stevens, Celeste Taylor, Paradise Gray and Melissa Minnich.