- Associated Press - Thursday, September 1, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay wants more non-emergency calls referred to civilians trained to take police reports over the phone to free up patrol officers for more proactive police and community relations work.

But the new policy has its critics on City Council who believe it’s better for officers to take reports in person.

The new order identified 14 categories of calls, including simple assault, harassment, thefts and some burglaries. Calls will be sent to the Telephone Reporting Unit if there’s no immediate chance of finding any evidence or a suspect at the scene.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris says she thinks police are “walking down a very dangerous path.”

McLay says the only thing he’s doing is not sending officers to take reports of stolen garden gnomes and things like that.

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