Ravenstahl taps former DA to study Pittsburgh police employment policies

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Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has appointed former Washington County District Attorney Steven M. Toprani to review policies in the police bureau as they relate to outside employment for officers following the revelation that Chief Nate Harper entered into a private security consultant venture without the knowledge of his superiors.

The Post-Gazette reported Feb. 7 that the chief, a civilian police clerk and three of his officers formed Diverse Public Safety Consultants LLC early last year, a company that Chief Harper said was dormant. One of those officers, Commander Eric Holmes, also held a full-time job as the interim director of public safety for Slippery Rock University in 2007, an arrangement the chief signed off on but the mayor called "inappropriate."

Mr. Ravenstahl said it was not yet clear whether Commander Holmes' second job violated bureau policy, but he wanted to amend the policy to ensure such an arrangement would be prohibited in the future.

Mr. Toprani served one four-year term as the district attorney for Washington County, leaving office at the beginning of last year. He is now an attorney with the firm Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl. In a news release, the mayor's office touted his experience cracking down on corrupt police departments and investigating officers' outside businesses for potential conflicts of interests.

Mr. Ravenstahl said Mr. Toprani will review the policies and make recommendations for how to amend them to better regulate officers who have outside employment. The mayor said his findings will be public.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published February 18, 2013 7:00 PM


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