During a series of public forums over the past few months, a committee charged with selecting Pittsburgh's next police chief reiterated that their ideal candidate would be able to repair the relationship between the community and police department.
Today Mayor Bill Peduto and public safety director Stephen Bucar announced they had selected Cameron McLay to take on that task. McLay, who currently works as a leadership development consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, brings 35 years of law enforcement experience to the position.
"Cam McLay will have his work to do," Peduto said. "He most certainly must restore trust with the community. He must rebuild morale with the rank and file. And he must make the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police a national model of professionalism."
For nearly 10 years, McLay, 56, served as a police captain in Madison, Wis. police department where he created a model for community-oriented policing, Peduto said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. He began his career as a patrolman with the Indiana University Police Department in 1979.
"He earned the respect of those who were directly involved in neighborhood organizations by letting them feel and letting them be part of the solution," Peduto said.
Criteria for selecting the city's next police chief was developed from community input at public forums as well as meetings with Pittsburgh police officers.
“I am drawn by the opportunity to make a difference," McLay said in a statement. "I recognize a community that desperately wants a stronger connection with its police, and a proud police force, rich in tradition, that wants to be valued and respected for their service and sacrifices. It is my job to close that gap. We, the police, are nothing but an extension of the communities we serve. Our role is to reduce crime, fear and disorder in all of those communities. To do so, we must forge strong bonds with those we serve. It is my responsibility to make that happen, and it will.”
McLay holds a bachelors degree in forensic studies and a masters degree in organizational leadership. He is also a use of force expert and served on Madison’s SWAT team for 24 years.
"The most important part of all of this is he's a man who has more than enough experience...and he wants to be in Pittsburgh," said Bucar.
McLay is expected to start work in Pittsburgh on Sept. 15
There were 10 finalists for the position. While Peduto declined to name the finalists, he said one of the final four candidates considered came from inside the Pittsburgh police department.