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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.
Body-worn cameras now in use to protect citizens and police
by Andrea Iglar
This week, the South Fayette Township Police Department is beginning the use of body-worn cameras.
Each of our 20 police officers will be wearing a camera to provide an audiovisual record of interactions between citizens and officers.
There are many reasons I felt it necessary and beneficial to implement this program for our community.
Having our officers record their actions with the public not only ensures transparency but also protects everyone involved from undue scrutiny. Even though video recordings don’t always show the entire incident, they often can assist by showing the majority of an event in a fair, balanced manner.
National statistics have found that when officers and citizens know they are being recorded, both parties generally behave more politely and courteously. Also, serious incidents may deescalate when body-worn cameras are in use. This helps protect both citizens and police from any unnecessary injury or legal issues.
Officers normally will advise anyone they interact with that they are being recorded. Each of our officers has been trained to remain sensitive to the dignity of all individuals being recorded and to exercise discretion when privacy outweighs any legitimate law enforcement interests in recording.
It is the department’s intent to be transparent and accountable for our officers’ actions at all times. Our body-worn camera policy is designed to ensure that these objectives are met and followed by all members of the police department.
We obtained the body-worn camera equipment through a $19,000 matching grant from the federal Bureau of Justice, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The grant paid for half of the $38,000 program cost, which includes 25 cameras, officer training, a new server and other equipment.
We as a community must invest and work together to make South Fayette the best and safest community that we can be. This body-worn camera program is another step toward ensuring our township continues to grow in the right direction.
John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police
South Fayette Township
Accomplishments show bright side of challenging year
by Andrea Iglar
I know everyone can relate when I say it feels good to put 2020 in the rearview mirror.
Undoubtedly, the past year presented South Fayette Township with unprecedented challenges and a series of obstacles that seemed never-ending.
If there is a silver lining to the twists and turns of 2020, it was the way we responded to each and every challenge and forged ahead despite the pandemic that demanded so much of our attention.
I am proud of the resolve the township has displayed and would like to share a few highlights from the past year.
In 2020, South Fayette welcomed more than 25 new businesses, including six new restaurants.
Construction stayed strong, with the township issuing 379 building permits for home improvements, new construction, additions and other projects.
The nonprofit South Fayette Conservation Group secured a $13 million grant to clean up Millers Run, a tributary of Chartiers Creek, by building a treatment plant to remove the orange-tinted acid mine drainage from the water.
The township secured $635,000 in grants, sponsorships and fundraising to advance projects such as expanding Fairview Park and implementing the police body-worn program, which aims to improve officer-citizen interactions and safety.
Our investment to pave more than 75 roads topped $2 million, while our Public Works Department repaired 83 storm inlets, sealed 7 miles of roadway, and mowed 94 acres of parkland and 141 miles of grass along roads.
The Recreation Department offered 55 virtual programs and socially distanced events, such as Joy-Thru Fairview.
We also prepared new programs that are launching in 2021: the South Fayette CitizenLink mobile app and the Military Banner Program.
Our 2020 accomplishments speak to the remarkable resolve of the South Fayette community and the spirit of the residents, businesses and employees who make our community strong.
John M. Barrett
South Fayette Township Manager
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