Text: Mayor's letter on police promotions

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The text of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's letter on why he can't reverse the recent police officer promotions:

PITTSBURGH, PA -- June 29, 2007 -- Mayor Luke Ravenstahl issued this statement today regarding the recent Police promotions:

The promotion of these police officers and the resulting controversy has provided us all an opportunity to see how flawed the City's long-standing system is for officer promotion.

Today I will start implementing several reforms to address this situation in the future. I am announcing a new policy that will set a standard of zero tolerance for domestic abuse.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police will institute revisions to their current Domestic Violence policy to incorporate the best practices recommendations of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

Mandatory Domestic Violence training is currently provided to all Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Officers. They will work in conjunction with the in the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and the Women's Center and Shelter to supplement the mandatory Domestic Violence training.

A review of each candidate will be conducted by an internal panel of senior supervisors to examine all data contained in the candidate's PARS and OMS files along with any OMI and Citizens Police Review Board complaints. A written recommendation by the review panel will be submitted to the Chief.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police will initiate a list of disqualifiers for cause that could eliminate a candidate from consideration for promotion.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police will implement new procedures to more closely track all Police Officer involved Domestic Violence related incidents.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police will take a holistic approach to the overall well-being of its Officers and their families. They will encourage, or mandate when necessary, Officers to avail themselves to counseling and/or other social service resources, especially in Domestic Violence related situations.

These steps are just the beginning of the reform, not an end.

With regard to George Trosky, I have stated previously that I was aware of his decade-old issues. I was also aware of his decades of exemplary service. While promoting him was a hard decision, it is one that I stand by.

With regard to Charles Rodriguez and Eugene F. Hlavac, as I have said, I was unaware of there being any issues in their background prior to public reports last week. That is a result of the Police Department not reporting to me that information. Had I known of that history, I would have urged that extraordinary steps be taken to further look into their respective issues, just as I had done with Detective Trosky. I have reprimanded Chief Harper for not sharing that information with me.

The problem that we face today is a legal one. The City's obsolete and flawed system for promoting officers has bitten us today. While I would like nothing better than to hold back these promotions pending further scrutiny, the law is not on our side. Legally, these men have already been promoted and the only action that could now be taken by Chief Harper would be to demote the two officers. I have been told by counsel that such an act would violate the current rules and the City would be on thin ice legally; therefore, the officers will not be demoted at this time.

I am upset and frustrated by the existing obsolete City rules that allowed for these promotions to take place in this way. It won't stand. It must change. We must make those changes necessary to restore faith in City Government. That is the good that has come this day. Today, we'll begin to change a practice and a process that has been going on for decades. It's time this City embraced a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence.



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