Pittsburgh Police Chief: Hiring Procedure is Fair

Aug 24, 2012

While Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper would not comment specifically on pending litigation, he says the police department’s hiring process is fair.  Harper's comments came 24 hours after the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal suit alleging the department discriminates against African American applicants.

Harper told Essential Pittsburgh Host Paul Guggenheimer Friday that, “as a chief of a major city police department, diversity is very important.” 

“We have worked very hard to make sure that we are reaching out to minorities to entice them or get their interest in law enforcement work and becoming a Pittsburgh police officer,” said Harper.

Harper and the Ravenstahl administration point to the latest police recruit class as the most diverse in decades as proof that their efforts such as attending job fairs and offering pre-tests and other classes are paying off.  

The ACLU suit contends African American applicants have been passed over for hiring despite performing well on interviews and written and physical tests. 

From 1976 to 1991, the city of Pittsburgh was under a federal court order to get more African Americans and women onto the police force.  During those 15 years, the city had to hire officers in groups of four:  one white male, one black male, one white female and one black female.