Wilkinsburg P.D.

How my experiences have impacted me.

My heartbeat mimicked the blare of the sirens. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” I stood by as the detective searched the scene. It was then that the face of the perpetrator became visible to me. I recognized him from somewhere: third period Honors English. Not many high schoolers can say that they ditched school, investigated a shooting, and arrested one of their classmates all in one day, but for me it was completely ordinary.

I’ve grown up in the neighborhood that soccer moms avoid at all costs, the place where struggles constantly appear on the news; an economically distressed community. A victim of white-flight, Wilkinsburg was once a flourishing suburb: “The Holy City,” birthplace of radio broadcasting, a popular shopping destination. With stores and homes left empty after the death of the steel mills in Pittsburgh, the population and tax base plummeted, bringing economic hardships and social ills to the borough.

The now defunct high school had struggled similarly. The building, erected in 1910 when the community was thriving, was in need of much cosmetic work. Entire floors were closed off because of declining enrollment, yet the hundred-some...

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