PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People packed the Pentecostal Church in East Liberty Monday night to meet with the new Pittsburgh Police chief, Cameron McLay.

McLay started off talking about the fact that he wasn’t looking for a chief’s job when the opening popped up here in Pittsburgh.

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He says when he saw the listing; he was intrigued by the challenges of the department and knew he could make a difference.

“I’ve got to close the gap between where we are today with respect to leadership and where we want to be,” said Chief McLay. “I have to close the gap between the communities that this police bureau serves and the police bureau itself.”

The bureau has faced obstacles ever since former chief, Nate Harper, resigned last year.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges.

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McLay says first and foremost, leadership needs to be restored in the bureau.

“I’ve been thrilled by the response from within the four walls of the organization,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘Chief, we want to do better, we are better than this, we deserve better, and we’re just glad you’re here,’ so I consider myself blessed to be here.”

As for building better relations between officers and the community, McLay says a lot of work needs to be done. But, he’s confident that improvements can be made.

“My goal is for people in each neighborhood to know at least a few of us within the police bureau by name,” he said. “I want you to know me and how to get ahold of me if things aren’t going well. I expect that you are going to know your zone commander.”

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