Sunday, January 31, 2016

Response from the Chief of Police UPDATED

In my previous post, I shared a copy of the email that I sent to Police Chief Aaron Lauth and Manager Keith McGill. Since "sharpshooting" begins tomorrow, I did not have the luxury of waiting 35 days for an answer to a Right To Know. Below is Chief Lauth's response, which includes an attachment of the developed protocols regarding inspections of the proposed culling locations.    (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9r_1biKte_bR1VpcG1HX3VMOUk/view?usp=sharing)

Ms. Gillen,

I believe that items #7 and #12 listed in the "FAQs  -  Deer Management—Professional Sharpshooting", that were released on January 21, 2016, most specifically address the safety measures that have been implemented leading up to the sharpshooting program.  

7. How are potential sites evaluated? The site inspection team consists of White Buffalo professionals and two Mt. Lebanon police officers who have extensive training as police marksmen and have participated on our regional Critical Incident Response Team. They evaluate each potential location based on a variety of factors, including shooter position, elevation to be used, sight lines/obstructions, proposed weapons (.22/.223), minimum/maximum target range, backdrop selection, potential for human activity, proximity to any safe walking route and compliance with the 1000-foot Gun Free School Zone criteria applicable to public properties.

12. What safety measures will be implemented? Safety is the paramount concern. White Buffalo, Inc. has worked for nearly two decades to control deer in many different environments, and no injuries or deaths have ever resulted. White Buffalo, Inc. is recognized nationally as the leading expert in this discipline and has trained several law enforcement agencies in deer sharpshooting techniques. Mt. Lebanon Police Department will remain in close communication with White Buffalo throughout the program. White Buffalo will inform the police approximately 24 hours in advance of where technicians plan to work and will report back to police each day when their field operations conclude. Signs will be posted at all public parks where shooting may take place. The parks will remain open, and police will monitor them as usual. White Buffalo sharpshooters immediately will contact the police chief or his designee should any culling activities not go according to typical operating procedures. 

I have also attached the detailed site assessment plan that was developed by the established task force.

Please see below for answers to your specific questions:

1. Setback requirements for "sharpshooting."
As I'm sure you are aware, safety zones and setbacks are not required for a sharpshooting cull permitted by the PA Game Commission, however all efforts will be made eliminate the potential for any human conflict at any of the proposed culling locations. Based on our preliminary discussions with White Buffalo, locations will be selected mostly because they are isolated from any potential conflicts that could have an influence on safety or the culling activities.

2. All types of "fixed elevated locations" used for MTL "sharpshooting."
These "fixed elevated locations" will be situation dependent, based on the specific dynamics of each proposed culling location. Some of these methods for establishing elevation might be a tree stand, deck, porch, top of a hillside (shooting toward a natural valley), etc., and will be evaluated individually for safety during each site inspection.

3. The justification for having two different start times for "sharpshooting" in public vs. private properties.

The potential for human conflict was a factor that was considered by the task force when the start time was established at 6 p.m. for public properties. Since the parks and other public properties will remain open during the culling operations, a later start time was established that will promote safety while still considering the success of the program. Private properties will have significantly less potential for human conflict, unless someone is trespassing on the property, therefore an earlier 4 p.m. start time was justified.

4. The hours that the "sharpshooters" have permission to enter all properties for both baiting and "sharpshooting."

The special-use deer control/political subdivision permit allows culling activities to take place seven days a week through March 31, 2016. Sharpshooting operations will be conducted seven days a week on private properties beginning no sooner than 4 p.m. and concluding by 11 p.m. Sharpshooting operations will take place on public property Monday through Friday only beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 11 p.m. It is my understanding that other components of the operations, such as baiting, may take place outside of these established sharpshooting hours.

5. Curfews

No specific curfews were established by the task force for implementation during the sharpshooting program. Public properties will remain open during the culling operations and safety will remain the top priority throughout the sharpshooting program.


Thanks,

Aaron V. Lauth
Chief of Police
Mt Lebanon Police Department
555 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15228
(412)343-4015

On Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 6:39 AM, egillen476@aol.com <egillen476@aol.com> wrote:
Hi Keith and Aaron,

Keith wrote, "The Police Department is the department tasked with ensuring the safety of the public, which includes this program. As such I will defer to Chief Lauth or Deputy Chief Gallagher for any additional response to your questions related to public safety."

I am still waiting for answers to my questions asked nine days ago. I looked on the MLPD website and saw nothing about the deer "sharpshooting." I did see the warning about the IRS scam, but nothing about deer. As I consider myself as one "who has an interest in the issue," I am unable to find the information.

Since this is time sensitive, I really don't want to file a Right To Know, knowing that it would take 35 days. I am interested in:

1. Setback requirements for "sharpshooting."
2. All types of "fixed elevated locations" used for MTL "sharpshooting."
3. The justification for having two different start times for "sharpshooting" in public vs. private properties.
4. The hours that the "sharpshooters" have permission to enter all properties for both baiting and "sharpshooting."
5. Curfews

Elaine Gillen

Update January 31, 2016 8:07 PM A concerned parent wrote to Chief Lauth today.

Subject: Re: Sharpshooting...
From: Aaron Lauth <alauth@mtlebanon.org>
To: Concerned mother

Mrs. ______,

It is recommended that students travel on the identified safe walking routes via streets and sidewalks, and that no shortcuts are taken through private properties. Also, the following is some additional information that was shared with another parent who had a similar question...

All safe walking routes are recommended routes of travel that are established using public streets and their adjoining sidewalks (where appropriate). No safe walking routes recommend that children walk through private property during their travels to and from school. Also, none of the public properties identified for use during the sharpshooting activities are recommended for travel by the established safe walking routes.

Since the established safe walking routes encompass nearly all of Mt. Lebanon, you are correct that some of the private properties that have been selected for culling activities may be adjacent to public streets and sidewalks where these recommended routes exist.

As you are aware, the MLPD has been tasked with evaluating the safety of the culling activities throughout the program. As part of this safety analysis, specific criteria and a site inspection team have been established. The site inspection team consists of White Buffalo professionals and two Mt. Lebanon police officers who have extensive training as police marksmen and have participated on our regional Critical Incident Response Team. They will evaluate each potential location based on a variety of factors, including shooter position, elevation to be used, sight lines/obstructions, proposed weapons (.22/.223), minimum/maximum target range, backdrop selection, potential for human activity, proximity to any safe walking route and compliance with the 1000-foot Gun Free School Zone criteria applicable to public properties.

As I'm sure you are also aware, safety zones and setbacks are not required for a sharpshooting cull permitted by the PA Game Commission, however all efforts will be made to eliminate the potential for any human conflict at any of the proposed culling locations. Based on our preliminary discussions with White Buffalo, locations will be selected mostly because they are isolated from any potential conflicts that could have an influence on safety or the culling activities.

As is evidenced by the established protocols listed above, safety will always be the top priority of this culling program.

Thanks,


Aaron V. Lauth
Chief of Police
Mt Lebanon Police Department
555 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15228
(412)343-4015

On Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 1:43 PM, A concerned mother wrote:
Aaron:

My issue with sharpshooting is concerning school dismissal. Mellon Middle School dismisses at 2:58PM. My daughter walks home to Sunset Hills from Mellon. Occasionally, she must stay after school for various reasons. (After School Activities, meeting with a teacher, etc.) In those cases, she will be walking home starting at 4:00PM. How can I be certain that my daughter will not encounter a sharpshooter?

I'm all for hunting, but in areas that are not densely populated.

Concerned mother

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

No. 3: I think that the Chief is saying that if you are trespassing on private property, you deserve to be shot.

Anonymous said...

Trespassers such as postal carriers, UPS and FedEx ?

E. T. Gillen said...

A woman just came by and picked up two NIMY signs. I asked her if she would send an email to the commissioners and she said that they know how she feels. She lives by Howe School. She had called the municipality and asked the woman who answered the phone if she knew where to get NIMY signs. The woman said NO and hung up. I love it!!!!
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Either on FB or Next-door, someone was looking for the NIMY signs, too, Elaine. That lady said she wanted one for her back and front yards. I am not even sure she was from Mt Lebanon. I think a lot of people are alarmed by the sheer fact that Mt Lebanon is STILL killing deer.

1:11 pm. This undertaking is so family unfriendly it is almost laughable. I am so glad I grew up when kids still played outside every free moment. This generation of kids is screwed.

E. T. Gillen said...

I still have a few. Give them my email address. I may be ordering more.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

8:51, yes it's alarming that Mt. Lebanon is still killing deer! Corrals to arrows to bullets. What's next?

I wouldnt put it past them to try to get permits to slaughter more deer via another horrible way starting April 1.

It's definitely an obsession, and a cruel one at that.

You know whose behind it all. It's amazing they have that much power.