PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While meeting with the media Thursday afternoon, acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Regina McDonald said changes are expected within the bureau.
Shortly afterward, some of those changes happened. Three police employees were put on leave on Thursday evening.
The employees, civilians Tammy Davis and Kim Montgomery as well as Officer Tonya Montgomery-Ford, have been put on paid administrative leave. They allegedly created an outside business with the former chief, Nate Harper.
And that could be just the first of many.
KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:
In addition to changes, McDonald – a 32-year member of the force – says she has a plan for the department and one of her biggest challenges is going to be addressing the issue of low morale within.
“There’s been a lack of leadership because of what’s all been going on, and I think we need to re-establish a sense of direction in where we want to go, move forward,” said McDonald. “Embarrassed, they’re nervous, don’t know what’s going on, what the future is going to be; so, I’m hoping we’ll be able to reassure them, and I plan to work closely with our command staff, supervisors, rank and file and the FOP.”
She also acknowledged that she was interviewed by FBI, but she says she was never a target of their investigation.
KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland Reports:
Meanwhile, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has tapped a former district attorney to look into other aspects of the force, specifically the outside interests of the officers.
Former Washington County prosecutor Steve Toprani was known for exposing corruption, going after wayward cops. His new role with the City of Pittsburgh may take him down a similar path.
“The issues that have been raised are very serious,” said Toprani. “Certainly, we’ll look at this investigation with a high degree of scrutiny and with the attention it deserves. I’m looking at this as a former prosecutor, as a former policymaker. We’re going to get down to the bottom of it, and find out what exactly was going on.”
Sources confirm Toprani will be looking at many of the allegations made in the documents provided to the KDKA Investigators.
In one case, an officer has a security company and allegedly supplies Pittsburgh Police officers, both plainclothes and uniformed, for Highmark and PNC Bank.
In another, an officer with a private security company allegedly provides officers for the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as Southside Works.
In another case, an officer allegedly takes gifts from companies that do business in the city and hire off-duty officers.
In yet another case, an officer allegedly is an active police officer and is also working for insurance companies and law firms at the same time.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:
There are also allegations of an officer who owns a construction company. He also does his company work in city time.
The focus, outside employment and private business ventures after former police chief Nate Harper set up a security firm with several other officers.
“There’s certainly a lot of information out there,” said Toprani. “At this point, we’re going to go into a fact-finding role and try to establish exactly what’s occurring.”
Scandal Surrounding Pittsburgh Police Is Raising Many Questions (2/21/13)
Questions Piling Up Amid Chief Harper’s Resignation (2/21/13)
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