PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police is upset after they said storms and flooding left raw sewage in police buildings on Washington Boulevard.
As they have in the past, heavy storms hit Washington Boulevard hard Thursday afternoon and into the evening.
Individual Police Department members also sent photos to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 of a closed gym and bathroom at the police training academy. They wrote that cadets have been relegated to using portable toilets outside the building and that the building itself floods over and over again.
“The working police officers were recently given a trash award regarding wages and working conditions. Now they go to work and are required to swim in sewage. When will the police command and the mayor’s office take a real interest in the working conditions of its officers?” said Fraternal Order of Police President Bob Swarzwelder.
The mayor’s spokesman Tim McNulty called the union’s comment “outrageous” but did say there was raw sewage.
Police Department spokesperson Sonya Toler however, told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 there was an odor, but no evidence of sewage.
“We had pretty bad rain the past 24 hours. I’ve had flooding in my own house,” said Mayor Bill Peduto Friday evening.
McNulty said the flooding and sewage issues were a Mother Nature problem and not the city’s fault.
But an officer on the FOP’s Facebook page posted a comment highly critical of the city administration.
“They continue to put a band-aid on a bullet wound. For YEARS they’ve been looking for a new place for the academy. They’ll look for a while, then it will fade away until another flood with sewage filling the basement. That building is shameful, and disgraceful,” the officer said.
Peduto said a new location for the police academy will be announced within the next few weeks.
“The training academy – there hasn’t been investment into that building in way to long. It’s at the point where it’s not even adequate for the number of officers we need, it’s too small to train them,” he said.
The mayor said there are various options for the new building including a sharing agreement with CCAC for space in one of the college’s buildings or the possibility of an old school building in Pittsburgh’s west end.