Since before taking office, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has been promising that when it came time to hire a new police chief, the public would have ample opportunity to influence the process. Today, he and Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar laid out plans for six public meetings and a website dedicated to taking additional input.
Former Police Chief Nate Harper resigned from his post in February of 2013 while being investigated by federal authorities. He is currently serving an 18-month sentence for conspiracy to commit theft from a federally funded program, and failure to file tax returns. Peduto opted to hold off on hiring a new chief until he had named a new public safety director. Bucar’s first day on the job was Monday. His appointment is still pending City Council Approval.
Peduto envisions a hiring process that starts with imagining what a perfect candidate looks like.
“On the one side we will have the best practices – what type of education, what type of training, what type of background… are really what we need for the city of Pittsburgh in a new chief… But at the same time on a parallel track, what do you want to see in a new police chief,” Peduto said.
Public meetings will be held in each of the city’s police zones. The first will be held June 26 in zone two. Peduto and Bucar will be at each of the meetings, which the mayor hopes will do more than just feed ideas into the process.
“We’ll ask others to come out to those meetings and hopefully they’ll get more engaged in the public safety of their own neighborhoods in doing so,” Peduto said.
Peduto believes there is a “disconnect between the community and the bureau of police” that must be rebuilt, and he thinks this process will help.
During the sessions residents will be asked specific questions about policing. A Mindmixer site will pose three additional questions.
- What priorities does your community need the new Chief of Police to address?
- What qualities and skills does your community need the new Chief of Police to have?
- What can you and others in your community do to help realize the vision of policing in partnership with the community?
The new public safety director and the new police chief will also have to deal with moral issues within the bureau according to Peduto.
“What we want to do is assure our officers that we are going to create a bureau that every day, when they put on that uniform, they can be a proud member of,” Peduto said.
The police chief job posting and application process is being facilitated through Talent City, which was built and is being managed by the Pittsburgh Foundation. The system was used to hire all of the city’s top staffers including Bucar.
The meetings will be held in the following locations:
Zone 2 - Thursday, June 26 @ 6 p.m.
Teamsters Local 249 (aka: Teamster's Temple)
4701 Butler St. - Lawrenceville
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Zone 6 - Monday, June 30 @ 6 p.m.
Greenway Middle School*
1400 Crucible St. - Sheraden
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Zone 5 - Tuesday, July 8 @ 6 p.m.
The Kingsley Association*
6435 Frankstown Ave. - Homewood
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Zone 3 - Wednesday, July 16 @ 6 p.m.
South Hills Senior Residences
125 Ruth St. - Beltzhoover/Knoxville
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Zone 4 - Tuesday, July 22 @ 6 p.m.
Jewish Community Center*
5738 Forbes Ave. - Squirrel Hill
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Zone 1 - Thursday, July 24 @ 6 p.m.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Church*
907 Middle St. - Brighton Heights
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(* Location tentative pending availability)