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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Oct 14

Body-worn cameras now in use to protect citizens and police

Posted to Chief's Corner 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.

Professionally,

John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police
South Fayette Township
Oct 14

Township continues to forge ahead during pandemic

Posted to Manager's Message by Andrea Iglar

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2020, I reflect upon the year so far with mixed emotions.

On one hand, 2020 has brought South Fayette Township a series of challenges like never before. The coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel South Fayette Community Day, our July Fourth fireworks celebration, Summer Playground Camp and just about every other community gathering that we take such pride in offering.

However, despite all the obstacles of 2020, I am optimistic and excited about the future.

In this issue of South Fayette Connect—the magazine’s 20th issue since it first published in 2016—I would like to highlight the very good work the township has been able to accomplish this year.

Going into 2020, our primary goal was to expand and enhance the annual road paving program.
The 2020 budget earmarked more than $2 million for roadway improvements. Despite construction activities being temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus, and safety precautions impacting our traditional office work environment, our ambitious plan to improve the road network has been successful.

The vision and leadership of the township Board of Commissioners have been key, as the elected officials urged us to forge ahead when many communities were reluctant to take on large projects due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

And forge ahead, we did. Not only have we undertaken the largest road paving program in township history, but we also have pursued long-term capital projects that will serve the community for years to come.

Most notably, the township plans to construct a new municipal building and police station on recently purchased land along Hickory Grade Road.

The new facility will provide the police with desperately needed accommodations to provide professional services and will equip township staff with space to operate more efficiently and cooperatively. We anticipate a groundbreaking in early 2021.

Additionally, the commissioners have formed a strategic plan for the existing municipal complex on Millers Run Road that will address the facility needs of the South Fayette Township Library, provide community spaces and potentially offer indoor recreational amenities.

These projects have long been talked about, but for a variety of reasons could not be completed. With strong teamwork and leadership from the commissioners, these projects now are being pursued in a responsible manner. Soon the community will have the opportunity to participate in the planning process to help make this vision a reality.

I look forward to our momentum carrying over into 2021. For example, as part of our five-year Capital Improvements Plan, we will leverage more than $1 million in grant awards to make significant improvements to Fairview Park and Morgan Park.

The future is bright in South Fayette!

Sincerely,

John M. Barrett
South Fayette Township Manager