A white police officer in uniform at a lectern with microphone and people seated behind him

Use of Force Down Among Pittsburg Police, Chief Says

A white police officer in uniform at a lectern with microphone and people seated behind him

Pittsburg Police Chief told City Council on Tuesday that an officer used force in 11 incidents last year, compared with 35 times in 2022. (Screenshot captured by Samantha Kennedy / The CC Pulse)

By Samantha Kennedy

The Pittsburg City Council learned Tuesday that use-of-force incidents and internal investigations in the Police Department decreased in 2023. 

Pittsburg’s Chief of Police Steve Albanese presented a quarterly overview of the Police Department at the meeting that showed, of the over 32,500 calls for service in the last two quarters of 2023, 0.01% of incidents involved an officer using force. 

That means 11 incidents involved an officer using force in the entire year, an over 50% decrease in use of force in the department in 2022. Use-of-force incidents in 2022 accounted for 35 incidents, according to Albanese’s presentation. 

The FBI and Contra Costa District Attorney announced in March 2022 that officers in Pittsburg and Antioch were being investigated for what the public would later learn was a college degree fraud scheme. The investigation, which ended with four Pittsburg officers being charged, was how the Antioch Police Department’s racist text scandal was discovered. 

While officers were under investigation by the FBI and district attorney, internal investigations also spiked before going down in 2023. This, in turn, also meant discipline of officers increased in 2022. 

Appointment of Planning Commissioners

Four, including two current commissioners, were appointed to Pittsburg’s Planning Commission to four-year terms that will begin in March. 

Frank Gordon, Sarah Foster, Arlene Kobata and Deandra Stokes were unanimously appointed to their terms by the council at the Tuesday meeting. Terms will expire in February 2028. 

Gordon, in his application, said the city “deserves to have someone with experience on the Commission,” and referred to his nine years of experience on the Planning Commission. He also served on Contra Costa County’s Hazardous Materials Commission for 12 years. 

Foster and Kobata return to the commission after previously being appointed to their positions in 2022. The two have voted on various developments, including Kobata’s vote to not recommend the Faria/Southwest Hills Annexation plan. The plan, which was ultimately approved by the council, will have 1,500 homes from Discovery Builders and Seeno. 

Discovery is also partnering with the city on what will be one of the county’s largest recreation centers. Building the center was contingent upon the approval of the housing development. Like in the housing plan, the Planning Commission voted against the development, citing inconsistencies with the general plan. The council voted to approve the center. 

Stokes is a resident of 35 years with experience serving as the assistant treasurer for Pittsburg’s Soroptimist International, a volunteering organization, and president of a homeowners association board of directors. 

Mayor Juan Antonio Banales suggested that staff could reach out to the remaining applicants who were not appointed to see if they were interested in serving on the Community Advisory Commission.

The next Pittsburg City Council meeting is March 4.

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