The City of Pittsburgh is preparing for a large police presence. While some may think it is due to the various large number of rallies and protests held recently in reaction to the not guilty ruling of George Zimmerman, it is actually because the city is set to host one of its largest minority conferences next week, when it, along with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives welcomes the 37th Annual NOBLE Training Conference and Exhibition on Aug. 3-7 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

“We’re pleased that some of the finest leaders in law enforcement are having this prestigious meeting here in one of the safest cities in the country,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh. “Our goal is to exceed their expectations and encourage them to book additional meetings in Pittsburgh, and return to enjoy our city with their families.”

With a theme of “Bridging the Pathway to Justice and Equality,” the NOBLE organization, which was nationally founded in 1976 by more than 60 Black law enforcement executives, including the late Pittsburgh Police Chief William “Mugsy” Moore, expects approximately 1500 delegates, along with their families, from all over the world, to attend.

“For me this is a long-awaited dream come true. Those of us who travel to NOBLE conferences around the country know the benefits and opportunities for careers in law enforcement,” said national NOBLE President and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant. “We want our youth and especially eligible minorities in Pittsburgh to see the vast array of career opportunities in municipal, state and federal law enforcement.”

With only 15 percent of the force being comprised of Blacks, compared to 83 percent Whites, and 1 percent Asians and Hispanics, according to the 2012 annual Pittsburgh Bureau of Police report, a lack of minority representation is evident.

Along with the numerous training workshops and business meetings, the conference will feature several important events such as the Civil Rights Brunch, which will honor some of the city’s most distinguished Civil Rights leaders such as Saleem Ghubril, Wendell Freeland, Herman Mitchell, Rev. Jimmy Joe Robinson, Betty Hord Robinson, Herman Reid and posthumously Sylvester Pace; the National Blessing of the Badge and Church Service; the NOBLE Women’s Symposium at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, which will include inspirational stories shared by women of distinction and the presentation of the first Jessie W. Fleming “Woman of the Year Award;” the NOBLE Memorial March and Church Service, where delegates will march in uniform from the Homewood Brushton YMCA to Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, in East Liberty, to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to the community and the mission of NOBLE; and the NOBLE Town Hall meeting at Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the topic of “Mentoring Works: NOBLE Addressing Youth Violence.” It will include a panel of representatives from law enforcement, the community and the youth, and it is open to the public.

There will also be several social events for guests to participate in, such as the Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament at Champion Lakes Golf Course, in Bolivar, Pa., and the Host City Night, at the Carnegie Science Center, an evening filled with music, dancing, scientific wonder and more. There will be an Old School theme with local artists like Flow Wilson and the Old School Band, the Kevin Howard Quartet, comedienne Lillian Cannon and DJ Curtis Williams. This is an event for youth and adults.

While the main training conference is important for executives, another significant portion of the conference is the Youth Leadership Conference, held from Aug. 4-7, for ages 13-18. The conference’s theme is ”The Emerging Leader in You” and the purpose is to prepare them to assume leadership roles in their various communities and to develop their potential, while exposing them to law enforcement issues. The local chapter is in the process of selecting 250 youths from the city and the surrounding area to attend.

Although many of the sessions are closed to the public, there is an Exhibit Hall that will be open to the all. One of the major booths guests are encouraged to stop by is the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, which will offer HIV information and testing at no charge. The fight for HIV Testing is one of the organization’s national initiatives.
Bryant said vending opportunities are still available.

(For more information on the conference, contact Diane Richard at 412-323-7814.)

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