Two Pitt Professors Named to Pittsburgh Task Force on Police Reform

Richard Garland, left, in a gray hat and shirt, and David Harris in a black suit and red tie

Seeking to make “people-oriented solutions that make Pittsburgh a better place for all,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has convened a Pittsburgh Community Task Force on Police Reform, and two Pitt professors are among its members.

David Harris, the Sally Ann Semenko Professor of Law, and Richard Garland, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public Health, join 15 others on the team. They range from CCAC President Quintin Bullock to various community leaders, foundation heads and neighborhood advocates, some of whom have been organizing recent Black Lives Matter protests.

Their goal is to review current police practices as well as police-community relations and deliver recommendations to the Mayor by this fall.

Said Harris, a national expert on policing and racial profiling: “We need to focus on change that will give all people in Pittsburgh the kind of public safety they want so that everyone will feel safe.” 

Garland said he hopes to bring to the task force his years of experience working in communities that experience violence.

“I’m not going to be someone who rubber stamps something that is put on the shelf to collect dust,” he said. “I will push for immediate change and steps to assure the community is represented.”

Both men said what is needed is a total commitment from the Mayor and City Council to make sure the recommended changes actually take place.