Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday that he has chosen FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar as the city's new public safety director.
Bucar is currently assigned to the Washington, D.C. FBI office as a Supervisory Special Agent Section Chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Peduto points out that Bucar has experience overseeing the analysis of information associated with domestic and international terrorism at both the federal level and for New York City.
The 54-year-old Bucar has ties to southwestern Pennsylvania, but not necessarily Pittsburgh. He was raised in Washington County and worked as an officer for West Brownsville and the Pennsylvania State Police.
“Which comes with its own training, which comes with its own discipline,” said Peduto, who thinks the experience in West Brownsville and as a state trooper will give him “understanding where we have the most critical need, which is in law enforcement within our public safety bureaus.”
Peduto said Bucar will have to work to change the culture of the department.
“A culture that has eroded the trust within the community and the trust within the ranks … so far that it is now a culture that permeates throughout city government,” Peduto said.
The city is still without a police chief. Peduto said choosing a new chief will be among the top priorities for the new public safety director but he will not rush the process.
“I want to have what I promised, which is neighborhood conversations about what the people are looking for in their police chief,” he said.
The mayor expects those meetings to be held in June and July, but he will not set a target date to make a hire.
“I’m not going to hold it to a time frame but to a process,” Peduto said.
Bucar’s appointment is subject to City Council confirmation and his salary is $125,000. He is expected to begin work in early June.
“I am excited to return home to southwestern Pennsylvania and help the Mayor — and the city’s public safety employees — build a new Public Safety Department for Pittsburgh,” Bucar said via a news release.
In making the hire, Peduto also thanked outgoing Public Safety Director Michael Huss for his service to the city. Huss was among the top four candidates but was passed over for Bucar.
“What Bucar gives us is an opportunity to start new,” Peduto said. “We have a lot of work to do to clean up city government, and it starts at the top.”