Pittsburgh police department earns accreditation

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The Pittsburgh police department received accreditation this week from the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

Commission members voted unanimously Wednesday to give the recognition to the Pittsburgh police department, said Dane Merryman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

He said a team of assessors evaluated Pittsburgh police policies -- including policies for use of force, firearms training and other hot-button topics -- to ensure that they met the commission's 150 standards for police departments. They then reviewed police bureau reports to ensure that officers were actually acting within those standards, Mr. Merryman said.

The accreditation process was briefly put on hold amid a federal investigation that resulted in the indictment of former police Chief Nate Harper on a charge that he and others in the bureau diverted money from the department into off-the-books accounts, which he tapped for his personal use.

"We felt that was the appropriate thing to do, to let that investigation run its course," Mr. Merryman said.

He said the commission determined that the events that led to Harper's indictment were the result of individuals' actions rather than a problem with departmental operations.

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com and 412-263-1438.

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