The Transportation Division is responsible for transporting all Allegheny County prisoners to and from prisons, courts and hospitals throughout Pennsylvania. Trips are also made throughout the United States to return prisoners to Allegheny County for court trials or incarceration. The Sheriff’s Office Transportation Division works closely with the District Attorney’s office to coordinate all prisoner extraditions from other jurisdictions.
The primary responsibility of the Transportation Division is the safe and efficient movement of inmates.
Deputy sheriffs make many trips to and from 28 State Correctional Institutions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Another duty provided by the transportation deputies is assisting local police. They transport inmates wanted on bench warrants from local lockups to the Allegheny County Jail. This service allows local police to remain in their jurisdictions and continue with their patrols to protect and serve their local citizens.
Deputies must complete all types of transportation court orders issued and directed to the Sheriff’s Office. For instance, inmates are at times escorted to funeral homes for brief visitations of deceased family members and then returned back to their institutions.
The transportation division is also responsible for providing courtroom security and transportation for inmates appearing for coroner inquests. From January 2001 through March 2003, deputies transported 201 inmates for 129 inquests. During this period, courtroom security was provided for 72 multiple defendant inquests. During these coroner inquests an additional deputy sheriff is required to hand scan and search all witnesses and observers. Certain inquests involving several defendants can require from five to eight deputies for the entire duration of the hearing. In addition, there are at least fifteen open inquests each year where there is not an incarcerated defendant, but courtroom security is still needed because of publicity.
In order to alleviate inmate population at the Allegheny County Jail, inmates are placed on house arrest. Transportation deputies must transport these inmates from the county jail to their residences. From January 2000 through December 2002, a total of 4, 216 inmates were placed on this program and transported to their residences. Also, during this same period, a total of 409 inmates were found in violation of their house arrest and transported back to the county jail. There are additional alternative housing programs for which inmates must be transported, such as the Renewal Center, ACTA, the Female Offenders’ Program, and ARC House. Depending upon the circumstances involved, security may require from two to four deputies to complete these details.
Besides transporting, the deputies in this division are periodically assigned to the following areas for security: Civil Courts, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Superior Court, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, the Allegheny County Grand Jury, and hospital prisoner watches.
Because of the large flow of civilian traffic in the various county buildings, in the event of an emergency situation, transportation deputies available at the time would be instructed to respond and assist as necessary.
For questions involving the Transportation Division please, contact 412-350-4701.