Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police don’t have a required cooperative agreement

On today’s episode of The Confluence: A 2010 law mandates schools and law enforcement to have a cooperative agreement but Pittsburgh Public Schools and the city’s police bureau haven’t met this requirement; legislation moving through Harrisburg could restrict what public records those incarcerated can request; and what the community near the new Shell plant thinks of the ethane cracker.

Today’s guests include: Charlie Wolfson, enterprise reporter PublicSource; and John Hargreaves, volunteer director for the PA Prison Society.

Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police have yet to settle on a state-mandated agreement
(0:00 – 8:05)

Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police are required by a state law passed in 2010 to have a consent agreement that outlines how police and school officials share information. However, this agreement hasn’t happened. PublicSource’s Charlie Wolfson found that there have been debates about how much information schools should provide police.

“So it’s just supposed to make sure that the school district and the police department know how each other operates and knows what they can expect from each other, especially when there’s an emergency,” Wolfson says.

Wolfson says the school district is hopeful that under the new administration this agreement can finally get completed.

Legislation moving through the state legislature would limit Right-To-Know requests for those incarcerated
(8:12 – 15:18)

A bill currently in the Pennsylvania Senate state government committee could change what records those incarcerated can access through a Right-To-Know request. If the Senate approves this proposed legislationthose in prison can only request records about themselves or their criminal cases.

John Hargreaves, the volunteer director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, says this change would violate the constitutional rights of those incarcerated.

“We also worry that this kind of leads to a slippery slope,” says Hargreaves. “If a person can be labeled vexatious by a government agency, Where does that stop? Who’s next? Who’s going to be the next next vexatious requester.”

The legislation’s primary sponsor told the Associated Press that the change would stem the flow of requests coming from those incarcerated.

Community reaction to new ethane cracker plant
(15:25 – 21:39)

Shell is expected to begin operations at its multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Monaca. The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier the plant has mustered hope and fear for many in Beaver County reports since Shell announced interest in the site in 2012.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 am and 7:30 pm to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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