Pittsburgh police union seeks to improve relations with Peduto's office

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The new president and vice president of the Pittsburgh police union said Monday one of their top priorities is to build a stronger relationship with the administration of Mayor Bill Peduto.

Officer Howard McQuillan, 39, and Detective Jim Glick, 41, were sworn in last week as president and vice president, respectively, of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1.

The pair, who went through the academy together when they joined the force in 2001, take over at a time when tensions between the mayor's office and the police union are high and when many factors affecting the department -- such as the selection of a new public safety director and permanent police chief -- remain in flux.

The two will "have their hands full," said Detective Michael Benner, who served as union vice president until last week.

"There's a lot of change going on and I feel these two individuals will be able to handle it."

Officer McQuillan -- whose father, grandfather and uncle worked as Pittsburgh police officers -- joined the Pittsburgh police bureau after working as an officer in Homestead.

Detective Glick previously worked in banking and then decided he wanted to join the force.

Both were among dozens of officers laid off in the early 2000s when the city cut their jobs to balance its budget and then brought them back after the police union presented the mayor's office with cost-cutting proposals that enabled their return.

Sticking points between the police union and the city include officer moonlighting, which came under scrutiny amid a federal investigation into former police Chief Nate Harper and others in the bureau, and a residency requirement.

Mr. Peduto -- who appealed a recent arbitration award allowing officers to live outside the city -- has said in the past that he might be willing to drop the residency requirement in exchange for more power to discipline officers.

Officers McQuillan and Detective Glick declined to comment on their positions on those issues except to say, "We'll let the process work its way out."

They follow an FOP president, Sgt. Michael LaPorte, who issued a statement last week saying, among other things, that the new mayoral administration has not been willing to meet with the police union -- a statement the mayor's spokesman disputed.

Officer McQuillan, who served as grievance chairman when Sgt. LaPorte was president, said he has not yet been in contact with members of the Peduto administration but might reach out to them this week if he does not hear from the mayor's office first.

"We just want to get off on the right foot," he said.

Detective Glick said, "I think both Howard and I just want to build relationships and move forward."

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

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