Pittsburgh police are investigating how a small amount of marijuana ended up last month inside the unmarked take-home car belonging to the bureau's top narcotics supervisor while it was at a private shop being detailed under a city contract.
A sergeant discovered the pot in the center console of Cmdr. Cheryl A. Doubt's 2008 Chevrolet Impala after a detective left the car overnight in the care of a private Pittsburgh business that police refused to identify.
Assistant Chief George Trosky, who is Cmdr. Doubt's direct supervisor, said he did not believe the drugs belonged to her or any other police officer. He speculated that someone who knew the vehicle belonged to the police bureau possibly left the marijuana in an effort to be "funny" but instead created a situation that could have cost someone's job.
"We're trying to find out who could have had access to the car," Assistant Chief Trosky said Thursday. "They had no idea in the car lot that it was a commander's car. They just knew it was a Pittsburgh police narcotics car."
If nothing else, the incident will likely impact how the police bureau handles contracts for vehicle-cleaning services.
Narcotics Detective Brock Covington on Oct. 3 took the Impala to the lot for cleaning and waxing. The detective's duties include maintaining narcotics vehicles under the squad's administrative sergeant, Michael Tracy.
Before dropping the car off, Detective Covington removed Cmdr. Doubt's personal items and placed loose compact discs in the console, Assistant Chief Trosky said. The detective said that's how he knew there was no marijuana in the console.
When the detective, along with Sgt. Tracy, picked up the car Oct. 4, however, they found a baggie of marijuana in the console, Assistant Chief Trosky said. He added that it was a minute amount -- "not enough for one joint."
"It was out of our care for at least 24 hours," the assistant chief said. "We don't know who all had access to those keys, who all had access to that car. That's going to be corrected. It'll never happen again."
Cmdr. Doubt, 57, is a 33-year veteran. She oversees about 50 detectives in the narcotics and vice unit. As a commander, she is one of the most powerful officers in the bureau, outranked only by the five chiefs.
In an interview Wednesday, she declined to discuss the specifics of the situation.
The commander has temporarily been reassigned to run the warrant office and other ancillary units in the absence of Cmdr. Linda Rosato-Barone, who was seriously hurt in a July traffic accident. The lieutenant in charge of the day-to-day activities is on vacation and Cmdr. Doubt's reassignment has nothing to do with the current investigation, Assistant Chief Trosky said.
Jonathan D. Silver: email@example.com or 412-263-1962.