Pittsburgh police commander is promoted to assistant chief

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City police Cmdr. George Trosky will be promoted this week to assistant chief, an impressive trajectory for the 34-year officer whose career -- marked by a demotion and several high-profile controversies -- once seemed that it might be beyond salvation.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that "the commander's work speaks for itself. He is a hard worker that has earned the respect and cooperation of community groups that he works with." The mayor said the commander had paid for his past mistakes and is the right person for the job.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard wrote in a news release that Cmdr. Trosky, 57, will oversee the bureau's investigations branch. Police Chief Nate Harper declined to comment.

Sgt. Eric Holmes will succeed him as commander of the Zone 2 station in the Hill District, which Cmdr. Trosky supervised for five years.

A ceremony will be Wednesday, Ms. Richard said.

Cmdr. Trosky was promoted from detective to commander in 2007 over concerns from women's organizations about his controversial past. Cmdr. Trosky was one of three police officers promoted that year who had faced accusations of domestic violence.

In all cases, charges were dropped or never filed.

Public backlash from the promotions, driven in part by fears of nonchalant police response to domestic violence cases, spurred updated policies enforceable when police are accused of abuse.

Cmdr. Trosky told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at the time that he had buried his past and was looking forward to further serving the police bureau.

The incidents that stirred concern then happened more than a decade ago and include a 1989 incident that made national news in which he was videotaped punching a Grateful Dead fan outside a concert.

In 1990, his name was stricken from a list of candidates for promotion to sergeant, and a lawsuit led to his promotion to that post in 1993, retroactive to the date of the error.

He served as a sergeant until 1997, when he was charged with drunken driving and simple assault stemming from an accusation that he broke the nose of his then-wife, Cheryl.

When Mayor Luke Ravenstahl approved his promotion to commander in 2007, he said it was based not on "one or two incidents" but on a 30-year-portfolio that included many commendations and his high clearance rate as a homicide detective.

Cmdr. Trosky joined the bureau at age 23 after an Army tour and short stints with the Allegheny County Jail, Sewickley police and Allegheny County police.

He will fill a position left vacant by former assistant police chief William Bochter, who left the bureau in May 2011 to take a post as a civilian adviser to the U.S. military.

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Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878.


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