Interim Pittsburgh police chief reassigns units

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A controversial detective unit that reported directly to former police Chief Nate Harper has been disbanded and other employees have been reassigned while the interim police chief continues to make changes at headquarters.

The Community Technical Investigative and Preparedness Section, which drew fire from some officers because some members were friends with Mr. Harper, no longer exists.

The bomb squad and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program now report to a commander and an assistant chief, respectively.

Acting Chief Regina McDonald declined to comment on the changes announced to some bureau employees in an email Monday afternoon. She previously said she did not think any unit should report directly to the chief or deputy chief, because she thinks it's important to have a strong multilayered chain of command.

Mr. Harper created C-TIPS the month after he became chief with the idea that its hand-picked members would serve as a troubleshooting squad for his office. They sometimes worked on drug busts. Other times, they were assigned to enforce safety at youth football games.

Many of its members will now report to the narcotics and vice unit.

Chief McDonald also moved the bomb squad back under the special deployment division, which also includes the traffic and collision units and special emergency response team.

The bomb squad, led by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's bodyguard, Sgt. Matt Gauntner, was part of the special deployment division until Chief Harper moved it into his office in 2007 for reasons that are unclear.

Zone 6 Commander Scott Schubert, who oversees the special deployment division, said he plans to meet with bomb squad members soon and he expects a "seamless transition" because the unit previously reported to him.

Chief McDonald also ordered three people assigned to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, who previously reported directly to the chief, to report to Assistant Chief of Operations Maurita Bryant.

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.


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