Peduto announces public forums for police chief search



Six months after Mayor Bill Peduto took office, he announced plans Wednesday to conduct a series of public meetings aimed at giving officials insight into what residents hope to find in a new Pittsburgh police chief.

The mayor, through a spokesman, outlined plans to conduct meetings in conjunction with the public safety councils at each of the city’s six neighborhood police stations.

He also unveiled a new website where people can leave their suggestions. The new site is accessible at pittsburghpa.mindmixer.com.

“This is going to be a public outreach directly to the people of Pittsburgh asking them what they want in a police chief,” Mr. Peduto said in a statement.

Acting chief Regina McDonald has run the Pittsburgh police bureau since former Chief Nate Harper was forced to resign in February 2012 amid a federal investigation.

Harper was indicted the next month on charges that he failed to file income tax returns and worked with others to steal checks from the bureau. He later pleaded guilty and is serving a federal prison sentence in Illinois.

Mr. Peduto had said that he wished to hire a public safety director before a permanent police chief because he wanted the new director to have input. His pick, Stephen A. Bucar, who is awaiting city council approval, began work this week in an acting capacity.

Mr. Bucar and Mr. Peduto plan to attend the public meetings.

“The sessions will be structured to ask residents specific questions about police and to measure and record their responses,” according to the mayor’s office statement. “The information residents provide will be given to the search committee tasked with developing a list of candidates for the Mayor and [Mr.] Bucar to consider.”

Ken Wolfe, president of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council, said he had not yet received specifics about how the city will use information from the meetings but that he welcomed the idea of them.

"I think any input that the public can give to the mayor and the public safety director is going to have some type of impact,” Mr. Wolfe said. “As least they’ll have any idea of what the public is thinking.”

Meeting times and tentative locations are as follows:

• Zone 1 -- 6 p.m. July 24, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 907 Middle St.

• Zone 2 -- 6 p.m. June 26, Teamsters Local 249 (aka. Teamster’s Temple), 4701 Butler St.

• Zone 3 -- 6 p.m. July 16, South Hills Senior Residence, 125 Ruth St.

• Zone 4 -- 6 p.m. July 22, Jewish Community Center, 5738 Forbes Ave.

• Zone 5 -- 6 p.m. July 8, The Kingsley Association, 6435 Frankstown Ave.

• Zone 6 -- 6 p.m. June 30, Greenway Middle School, 1400 Crucible St.


Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com. First Published June 11, 2014 10:22 AM

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