I am outraged by the March 11 Local front-page article assailing former Pittsburgh Bureau of Police staff member Diane Richard (“Spokeswoman for City Police Returns Vehicle 7 Days After Firing”). For more than a decade I worked with members of the criminal justice system in Allegheny County to protect children from trauma when their parents are involved in the system. Among the hundreds of good people with whom I was privileged to work, Diane Richard stands out as one of the most welcoming, concerned and competent.
Barely a hint of her excellent service to the people of Pittsburgh appears in the article. Not until the 16th paragraph does the reporter mention that for seven years Ms. Richard was “the face of the police bureau during numerous trying times.” Instead Ms. Richard is lambasted for keeping a car seven days after her last day of work. The article targets her even though in this and other Post-Gazette stories city officials acknowledge that there were neither uniformly applied policies and procedures nor personnel identified to track and receive vehicles, take-home or not.
Most shocking of all, you splashed a large front-view picture of her house across your pages. Yes, the car was parked on the side of her house in plain sight. And, yes, you could have photographed the car showing only a portion of the house. But you didn’t. This behavior makes the Post-Gazette’s treatment of a really good person seem more like a vendetta than news. Shame on the Post-Gazette.
CLAIRE A. WALKER