PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After shots were fired at a youth football game in Homewood nearly two weeks ago, Pittsburgh police and league organizers are working together to keep players and spectators safe.
During a press conference Thursday, police said they are working to address any security concerns and are developing a plan to have officers and additional security at all future games.
On Aug. 14, Lincoln Youth Sports Vice President Aaron Strader told KDKA-TV that the organization has asked for Pittsburgh police officers to attend the game as a larger crowd is expected.
“They were running from the top of the park down. The kids were running into the woods trying to escape. It was just a chaotic scene,” Strader previously told KDKA-TV.
Since then, the organizers and the city come together to change.
“Last week was the first since the public and the police held a public discussion. We received an apology and a promise of change,” said Tonya Payne-Scott, president of the Western Pennsylvania Youth Sports Association.
The city and police said their top priority is keeping both players and parents safe during every game.
“Every day, week after week, we come to these children. It is important for them to feel supported. But above all, safety,” said Payne-Scott.
Pittsburgh Public Safety said the challenge is maintaining information about where and when games are being played and whether there are any issues at those games, such as team rivalries.
“We want to make sure everyone has a plan to stay connected and take an active role in watching our kids enjoy being kids,” said Linda Barone, assistant chief of public safety for Pittsburgh.
“It’s an ongoing process that involves a lot of communication between many different parties. We hope these discussions will lead to safety,” said Payne-Scott.
“It’s going to take all of us. If we’re committed together, we’ll find a way to succeed together,” Barone said.
Police said they plan to call on their law enforcement partners for security assistance during future games with large crowds.