Reader Forum: Pittsburgh police promotions

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What do you think about the controversy over promotions in the City of Pittsburgh Police Department? [ Read story ]

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Reader comments

In this day and age of increased awareness and concern over domestic violence, and in light of the fact that frequently, abusers are involved in law enforcement (correctional officer, state trooper, police officer), it is appalling that the City of Pittsburgh has yet to adopt a more progressive policy regarding domestic abuse by its officers. I guess the City still believes that "the girl had it coming to her" attitude is just fine and dandy and ensures a real he-man type officer on the force. Not intending to be sexist here, but intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women, with women accounting for 85% of the victims in such situations. (cited from: I would also add here that violence tends to show a pattern and escalation in the target or degree of that violence is frequently seen. Thus, any officer with an "anger management" problem should not be considered a "qualified candidate" unless Angry & Violent Police Officers is what the City considers ideal for enforcement.

In the City of Philadelphia, there is a long standing policy that any officer arrested on a domestic abuse charge is terminated by the Police Department. Long-standing. Meaning in force longer than just the past 5 years.

I URGE the mayor to review the present promotion policies and also the recent promotions of those officers charged OR with charges pending in a domestic violence case. To promote these officers notwithstanding their past conduct, promotes domestic violence. To allow these officers to continue to patrol and enforce the laws they have broken themselves is to just fly in the face of Justice and who Justice is suppose to serve. I just hope it can be instituted before the city has a Bobby Cutts, Jr. case on its hands....oh wait, that's right! We already did and it was ok then too. (Com. v. Stonehouse, 555 A.2d 772 (1989). -- Marguerita Young-Jones, formerly of Highland Park, now Penn Hills

Union president James Malloy is quoted stating that the Mayor is "getting pressure, probably from women's groups, and now he wants to crawfish and go back the other way," he said. "That's a sign of immaturity."

Mr. Malloy is obviously immature to believe that police offers who are facing charges of domestic violence should some how by protected by the shield of a union, the police chief or their civil service role. They are police offers. They have been hired by the taxpayers to serve and protect, not beat on their wives or girlfriends. It is mature to face the charges, and if proven innocent, to then be considered for promotion. If they are proven guilty by our justice system, then a promotion should not be considered for the remainder of the officer's career. He can't be trusted by the folks he serves if he is practicing violence at home. Should he be fired? I do not believe that is just action - he should be given the opportunity to correct his behavior, participate in anger management and ultimately given a second chance. If he fails at his second chance, then termination should follow.

Also, the way that Mr. Malloy refers to "women's groups" in his statement has undercurrents of sexism. Does he truly believe that only "women's groups" are upset about this? Which "women's groups" is he referring to? I don't belong to any "women's groups" and I am concerned about this issue. Many women and men are upset about this issue, in the light of the murdering of a pregnant woman by a police officer last week. This person had a history of domestic violence, yet he continued to work on the police force. Now, a woman is dead, an unborn child is dead, a set of parents are devastated for the rest of their lives, and a two year old little boy lives without his Mother and unborn sister. Get real Mr. Malloy. Calling the Mayor immature is a sign of disrespect. Beating women is disrespectful. Police officers beating women is disrespectful. It is time that the city administration focus on this issue and put measures in to place that hold employees accountable for their behavior, be it on duty or off. -- Julie Mikus, Glenshaw

I am somewhat disappointed in the reactions to the police promotions.

Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?!" or does that not apply to police?

1 of the promotions has not even gone to a trial yet. Everyone is so quick to judge him without even knowing the circumstance surrounding his alleged crime. I must ask Do you have children who needed some form of discipline? (keeping in mind that teens can get quite vindictive when they don't get their way). 1 promotion problem is that police have responded to his home for ARGUMENTS with his girlfriend. Have you NEVER argued with your partner/spouse? How would YOU feel if you were denied a promotion at YOUR job because the police came to your house for something that turned out to be non-criminal? I don't believe that you would feel that is reasonable.

As far as Commander Trosky, he went through the system (the same one that everyone else does). No judge, prosecutor or anyone else was going to "slack off" or "go easy" and "cut deals" for him (as that story was in the news when it happened - therefore, NOONE was 'Going down" for him). He won.

Have you never made ANY mistake in your life? George Trosky has worked his behind off for the citizens of the city of Pittsburgh. He has proven himself to be an outstanding officer! We should be commending him for overcoming obstacles in his life and making something good of himself! Isn't that what we teach our children?

As a retired Pgh Police officer, I am even more appalled at Ms. Pittinger's comments. "If there are open OMI complaints, a promotion should be passed over" HELLO INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty! Plus, I have been personally told by OMI investigators that if someone walks in and files a complaint that "Officer DOE killed me" (as has been done) it will remain an open complaint until investigated fully. RIDICULOUS!!!!

As far as the Mayor, I used to think he had it together. Lets not get a big head Luke. There is no need for the mayor to be involved in EVERY police promotion! You get to pick the Chief. He knows the ins and outs of police work - way more than you. Let him run the show. Your choice in Chief Harper was fantastic! Let him "do his thing" It's worked wonders so far! -- Randi Fowler, Upper St Clair

I must agree with D. L. McMahon of Mt. Lebanon. Police in this town, and many other large cities have been protecting each other and abusing their statutory power for centuries. I thought these sort of abuses were being reined in with the movement of the '80s involving Frank Scerpico and the NYC squad, but it appears its business as usual. We need more professional officers, with more extensive training and testing, and not just aptitude testing, but dispositional testing as well; We don't need angry, short tempered men and women with guns driving and walking around town with guns as peacekeepers, it just doesn't make sense! -- Henry D. Pyatt, Pittsburgh

There must be zero tolerance for any public safety officer who is convicted of any crime in which violence or anger or force is involved. Not only should they not be promoted, they should be forced to resign. There are too many good officers on the force who manage to solve personal problems without the use of force.

It is certainly well-known that men who kill women in their lives, such as the police officer in Ohio arrested last week, most often start with a shove or a slap or a violent verbal outburst. While I applaud the Mayor's response to the outcry, I would hope he would learn to be more proactive in such important issues, and not wait until the story is so large that he must respond. I would also hope that the Mayor will do some personal soul searching on how he views women in our society and in our city.

So far, I'm not impressed with his attitude toward women, but hope he will learn the value of listening to women and not just his good old boy networks. -- Patricia Farley, Pittsburgh

These promotions are an outrage. If a police officer does not know right from wrong personally, how can they enforce the law to the general public? Also it says a lot about the level of corruption within the city of Pittsburgh. How could officer Trosky's DUI and Assault both be dropped because of a "Technicality." If I would have been charged with those same crimes, I would have done time in the county jail, no question. I truly hope that the city steps up and does the right thing and demotes these "criminals." -- Steven Bach, Pittsburgh

I don't think they should be promoted to much of anything. I

certainly wouldn't want them answering a call of help in my house. I was a victim of domestic violence and find men like this to be disgusting. I could just picture a scene with an officer responding to a call from a woman experiencing domestic violence in her home. The officer would walk in and probably tell the guy to punch her again. If he felt it OK to hurt his own family do you think he's going to protect me or my family? -- Alberta Ragan

The "good old boys" win again. The promotions of the officers with domestic abuse problems, is obscene but believable. I'd be willing to bet if you look at all police departments you will see officers on the rolls with domestic violence issues. It's the macho attitude that permeates in law enforcement that allows this kind of behavior to fester in its ranks. That it's okay to smack the "little woman" around or belittle or verbally abuse her.

How can we expect these problems to stop in our homes when we are promoting officers to higher positions who are indeed the "perps" of domestic violence? How can we teach responsible actions of men in relationships when we reward violence? How can we let this go on? Why do we not insist that our leaders put a stop to this type of "silence". Is the officer that beats his wife or abuses her verbally, really the type of officer we want on our police force? Is this really the type of person we want our youth to look up to, to copy? What are they thinking?

Thank you for your article. I only hope someone is listening. -- D. L. McMahon, Mt. Lebanon


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