Restoring Police trust and morale the “New Pittsburgh” way


Boom. Read it all, but just to emphasize:

I will not take this selection process lightly and refuse to limit my search to only a handful of individuals in the Police Bureau. As mayor I will ensure the community has a strong voice and critical part in this process. You will be at the table from day one playing a role in helping myself and other professionals define the criteria for the selection process and ensuring we consider the best talent available. Minneapolis, Minnesota used this same approach… (People for Peduto)

I want a mayor who thinks like this.

I want a Mayor who draws lines like these in the sand.

Councilman Peduto isn’t saying he has all the answers, he’s saying we all can arrive at them but only once we’re willing to peer beyond the nearest ridges and hills. Steel City? They invented steel in Turkey, Africa, Sparta and China. But once Pittsburgh embraced it, nobody could make it better.

Part of esprit de corps is welcoming new mates and new tools into your foxhole, adapting as an organization and overcoming challenges. It’s the mission we rally around, not internal politics and routine.

23 thoughts on “Restoring Police trust and morale the “New Pittsburgh” way

  1. Anonymous

    I will keep my comments short on this issue —

    This is the #1 issue facing our new mayor and it is the one issue that Wagner has continued to stick his head in the sand. This is unacceptable for any serious candidate.

    After selecting the new chief, there needs to be an immediate house cleaning of the entire command staff. If it takes a special buy-out program to get rid of the dead weight, that will be monies well invested to give the new chief the real start on reforming and reorganizing the Police.

    They need to get officers out behind the desks, get civilians behind them, put a real focus on community outreach, increase supervisors on the street and eliminate pay abuses.

  2. Anonymous

    I like Wagner's approach, there are good leaders in the Bureau who are untainted by the scandal. Those leaders should be considered. I don't believe Wagner has said he'd restrict the search to in-house candidates, unless I missed that? I think the search should consider all good candidates.

    While this is a difficult political point to make now, “diversity” simply cannot be the primary consideration. We need candidates who can demonstrate an excellent ethical leadership portfolio, regardless of race. If the best person happens to be white, black, or brown, that's the person who should be hired. We have had numerous examples of individuals who met the diversity parameter, but who have lacked sorely in other areas. Like it or not, this has been a real morale sore spot in the Bureau in recent years.

  3. Bram Reichbaum

    I don't think I can personally co-sign “immediate house cleaning of the entire command staff.” I don't know who you are and what you know, but I don't claim to know any of it. My prejudice would be that some in the brass have great experience and can continue to play key roles.

    Everything else you say I agree with 100%. It's hard not to reflect on the role of the FOP endorsement. I hear there is a press Wagner conference today with them. People should be aware in any event that while the FOP legally represents all police officers at the bargaining table, in terms of politics and personality they reflect the majority only among those cranks that can stomach going to FOP meetings. Tons of awesome police officers out there, doing their jobs, and not the least bit hostile to change. Eager to start some of it.

  4. Bram Reichbaum

    “The scandal” – Arguably there were several scandals, and my impression is they were extraordinarily well-known within the Department. They just weren't treated as “scandals” until somebody at a seemingly junior level finally wrote a memo.

    Agreed about race. We need an excellent “ethical portfolio” AND demonstrated successes making positive instututional change in other ways.

  5. infinitebuffalo

    > “there are good leaders in the Bureau who are untainted by the scandal. Those leaders should be considered.”

    Peduto has never said he would not consider in-house candidates. I'm not sure Wagner has said he would not consider non-in-house candidates, but he definitely has said we “should” hire someone in-house.

  6. Anonymous

    This impression, that things were widely known…what specifically is fueling it? I'd imagine that instances of knowledge by various assistant chiefs and commanders and others would be well delineated and explored by this time. I'm not asking you to do a research project – just wondering what is generating your impression.

  7. Bram Reichbaum

    The theft, I have absolutely no evidence was widely known. I should clarify that the practice of the Chief playing favorites and what became known as the “Detail Mafia” operating as it did was widely known. I've door knocked some houses that have turned out to be opened by police officers or their spouses and got the general impression that patronage was tolerated and lucrative, and this has had an effect on morale. And going back a few years or more ago, certain of the brass was promoted out-of-order in some way, was it not?

  8. Anonymous

    It all started when Harper's VERY first order of business when he became chief was to get civil service rules changed so that he could promote his buddy with a questionable background from detective to commander and eventually to chief.

    If Harper had not personally led the charge on getting the rules changed, much of this would not have happened.

    It emphasizes the point that other department directors have to stand up for what is right and proper and not just go along with what another leader wants.

    Also shows the need to have public hearings ANY time that there is proposed rule changes to civil service promotion criteria. That way, at least the media and bloggers could have raised questions before the fact rather than after.

  9. Anonymous

    The details are something that City Council can definitely take the lead.

    Arbitrators keep ruling that the police brass cannot prevent officers from arranging details for businesses.

    Council can pass a city ordinance outlawing the practice and specifically stating that only the City and its properly designated representatives can sell, lease (whatever words you want to chose) city services and resources to include personnel wearing city clothing that gives the public the impression that the employee is actually working on city time.

    This will easily end the reign of the “schedulers” that are becoming millionaires using city resources.

  10. Helen Gerhardt

    Wagner's position has “evolved” – he is now open to a national search, which I think is essential for a healthy process. I'm glad that both candidates are open to considering men and women from within the Bureau, but I think that Peduto knows better that there will be greater challenges for any Chief that has been entangled in “business as usual” and preferential promotions for those “who you know will watch your back no matter what you do.” Those quotes are from police officers who have been disgusted by internal corruption for a long time, and who have also watched whistleblowers take some serious heat.

  11. Bram Reichbaum

    Between the head of DPW and the FOP, it's staring to sound like Wagner is the incumbent and Peduto the challenger. I'm glad the Paramedics and AFSCME are supporting Bill, but for all those at-will employees and supervisors the pressure not to come out for change must be enormous.

  12. Anonymous

    I read with great interest the endorsement by AA political princess Valerie McDonald. she opens up her screed by talking of how the right has attacked The failed Presidency of Obama. Viewed as even more a failure in the last week. She then compares the attacks on Peduto as right wing solidifying Peduto as the leftist candidate if both OWS slugs and 1%ers in Sq hill and shady side!

    to the uninitiated Valerie is a career machine politician. Between her dad Bubby Hairston and Dok Fielder they doled out jobs and voting money for decades. Skilled at little more than being a black female from a well connected family she has served on school board city council and county office. her claim to game is the fealty of black voters from home wood brush ton and the tokenism of diersity politics. we need a black female for an office, get ubby's girl she' ll do it! so please realize Valerie is just another political hack who earned her stripes fr her family's connections not her talents!

  13. Bram Reichbaum

    I only know her from panel discussions on TV, but many of those, and she seems extremely knowledgeable, bright and engaging.

    Who IS this person who keeps alleging Peduto had anything to do with Occupy? It's an absurd fabrication. If you want to find OWS supporters in town, you can start with Jack Shea and Leo Girrard.

  14. Bram Reichbaum

    Hey Helen – thx for chiming in as always, but since you're a regular I'll take this opportunity to remind EVERBODY of…

    The “REPLY” link we can now click on to aid in threaded commentary. For being able to see who is replying to what, and who else is starting their own discussion topic. You can observe the indentations; it has helped out. As you were, people!

  15. Anonymous


    Just read the letter the poster was talking about.

    I have watched Valerie for years from City Council to County position to watching her on panel discussion on WQED. She always seemed to come off as well thought out and respectful.

    In her letter, she comes off simply as racist.

    She could have simply praised Bill for his positive attributes; but, she chose to try to scare the Black community into voting against Wagner rather than for Peduto.

    She IS better than this as a civic leader.

    Just as Luke's attacks (which seem to be backfiring) should not be held against Wagner, these very disparaging remarks by Valerie should not be held against Peduto.

    Shame on her.

  16. Anonymous

    Not sure why Valerie stepped forward on this, but it always behooves looking back a little. Valerie is no longer an elected official – she works for the County, she works for Fitz and Fitz is supporting Peduto. It's also true that there is no love lost between her and the Wagner clan – recall Valerie ran against Chelsa for the County Controller's job and the same big labor who are now supporting Jack, supported Chelsa then. What goes around, comes around.

  17. MH

    At least the bar for “Worst Mayor, North American Division” went way, way up this week. That's got to be a relief to all candidates.

  18. Anonymous

    I was at a meeting the other night with a judicial candidate im working with, unendorsed but deserving
    And Jack Wagner showed up and when it was his chance to speak he said that Bill Peduto doesn't speak to either African American members of council. I was a little floored by that. I wondering if that's how he intends on being mayor just ignoring anyone who doesn't agree with his position. If Luke was pulling that type of uppity white man crap the press would rip him a new one.


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