The Steelers continued their long-standing relationship and support of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police by hosting a Procedural Justice Seminar at Heinz Field on Thursday.
Pittsburgh is one of six pilot sites in the United States for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice that works to build relationships and increase trust between the police and the communities they bravely serve. The program is employing strategies, examining policies, and developing evidence through research to reduce implicit bias, enhance procedural justice, and promote racial reconciliation. Part of the program includes training of current and incoming officers, many of which have already begun or completed steps of the training.
"It's no secret things between the police and the community on a national level aren't where they need to be," said Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando. "A lot of work needs to be done to make those relationships better. A training like this goes a long way. First train the officer and say treat people this way and when we do it all of the time we increase their faith and trust in us. Now we go and train the community and we say if you treat them this way, likewise. We hope through these trainings we bring everyone together."
The main topic addressed in the seminar was implicit bias, taking the training that was given to the police and gearing it toward the community.
"The Pittsburgh Steelers and Heinz Field management are proud of our partnership with the hard-working men and women of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "Our long-standing relationship continued with a Procedural Justice seminar in which all front office staff of the organization were invited to participate.
"The seminar, as part of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, showed us how our police work to build trust within our communities. This seminar, along with the first-hand accounts from numerous city police officers, gave us a more personal understanding of how our police work to protect our citizens.
"We are very proud of our police force and their tireless work in our communities."
The seminar, which was hosted by Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, was attended by Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song, Steelers and Heinz Field management and staff, and included a roundtable discussion.
"There are other avenues where the police and Steelers are working together, not just here today," said Officer Jeff Upson, who also took part in the presentation. "There is no better time to talk about these issues than right here, right now."
The Steelers and the Pittsburgh Police, as well as other area police departments and law enforcement, already have a strong relationship formed and sustained over the years. Steelers' players have worked in partnership with area police on a number of initiatives, including participating in a police ride-along to get a better understanding of what the police encounter on the streets. Maurkice Pouncey has initiated a ticket donation program with the police, where they are given the tickets to provide to disadvantaged youth in their districts, something that helps them form a bond with the kids.
Both Pouncey and Cameron Heyward joined with area police departments to help the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank with separate Thanksgiving food distributions and Heyward, Vince Williams and other teammates assisted with the Pittsburgh Police Toys For Tots distribution, all in an effort to make the holiday season brighter for those in the community.
"I think this partnership we have with the Steelers is going to help us improve ourselves even more," said Chief Schubert. "We have been doing a lot of great things in the community as far as building that engagement. And also the golden rule, if you treat people the way you want to be treated, you will be treated with dignity and respect.
"The relationship we have now with the players is a game-changer for us. I give a lot of credit to the players who stepped up and came forward and said there are a lot of things going on in the country, there are a lot of people who are protesting different things, but what are we doing to help make a difference?. How can we make a change? To come forward like that, from the players, is huge for us."