What do you want in Pittsburgh’s next Chief of Police?

TRCF youth program facilitators at Zone One Chief of Police Community Meeting

By Channing McNeal

On July 24th, Sydney Olberg and I attended the Zone One North Side discussion about the new Pittsburgh Chief of Police selection committee and police-community relations. This was the last of seven meetings in the different zones in Pittsburgh and was held to allow people in the community a chance to discuss what they thought would be most important in a new Chief of Police and ask questions of the committee charged with selecting this individual. Without keeping an official record, it seemed a lot of different demographics were represented at this meeting. The meeting was structured so that people were assigned to one of eight tables. Each table was moderated by a preappointed individual. The first part of the meeting allowed the table to discuss what they wanted to see out of a new Chief of Police and come up with a question to ask the selection committee about their hiring process. For example, the question our group asked was, “what is one tangible goal you would like to see out of our next Chief of Police within his or her first year”. This committee was then allowed to answer the questions one by one.

For me personally, this was the first meeting of its kind that I had attended. I was really interested, and somewhat surprised, by the amount of people that attended and the diversity of the group. Every person there had their own personal stake in who the next Chief of Police would be and I did not hear any two reasons that sounded the same. Concerns ranged from experience in the field and connection to the Pittsburgh community to addressing racism and police brutality. All in all it was a surprisingly enlightening experience, even for someone who does not live in Pittsburgh and does not have a strong tie to who the next Chief of Police will be.

Hear Me Project also presented their interviews with over 100 young people to record their perceptions and recommendations for the Chief of Police selection committee.

Hear more interviews here.

Chief of Police Selection Committee includes:

Frederick W. Thieman – President, Buhl Foundation

Curby Anderson – Perry High School graduate, Hear Me Project

Wayne Babbish – Former Chief of Police, Brentwood

Erin Dalton – Deputy Director, Allegheny Department of Human Services

Valerie Dixon – Court Appointed Advocate, Prevent Another Crime Today (P.A.C.T)

Richard Garland, MSW – Center for Health and Equity, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Services

David Harris – Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh

James J. Malloy – Former President, Fraternal Order of Police

LaToya Warren – Deputy Warden of Inmate Services, Allegheny County Jail