Former police union head defends residency award

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The former president of the Pittsburgh police union, on his last full day in office, issued a four-page statement defending an arbitration award giving officers the right to live outside the city.

Sgt. Michael LaPorte, in a statement dated Wednesday, argued that the police contract opened the doors to allow the city and police union to negotiate on residency, meaning arbitration was the appropriate forum to settle their dispute.

He said he felt a city referendum in which residents voted to maintain the residency requirement was “so poorly written and the public was so greatly misinformed on the subject matter that I sincerely call into question whether it was truly the will of the people to revoke a benefit afforded to their police officers by their elected officials.”

The sergeant also criticized Mayor Bill Peduto, saying the city official “has not been willing to meet with the FOP on any matter, neither since his election in November or since his inauguration nearly three months ago.”

Tim McNulty, a spokesman for Mr. Peduto, said, “The mayor’s chief of staff Kevin Acklin has met twice with the FOP’s attorney Bryan Campbell to talk in general terms about the future of the police department.”

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