When inaugurated, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto pledged to have a new police chief in place by Labor Day, but that’s a holiday so all city offices were closed. So he introduced his choice to head the Bureau of Police the next day, Sept. 2.
Joined by Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar, Peduto said after an exhaustive search, the choice came down to integrity.
“Today we’re coming into a new era,” he said. “I’m pleased to announce we met our self-imposed deadline of labor day. Yesterday I offered the job to Cameron McLay and he accepted. He is a man of integrity who created a model of community-oriented policing, and who has earned the respect of neighborhood organizations.”
Peduto chose Cameron McLay, a former captain with the Madison, Wisc. Police department and 35-year law enforcement veteran, saying he had all of the qualities Pittsburgh needs in a chief.
“He is a student of community policing. He’s studied it,” said Peduto.
“He walks with the people. The rank-and-file will find him a cop. And the community will find that too. He gets out in the community, goes to meetings and then creates a bottom-up plan for policing in place.”
Bucar said after gathering feedback from the community at six different meetings and from two with rank-and-file members of the force, McLay meets all the criteria.
“This wasn’t about in-town or out-of-town, this was about the most experienced candidate,” said Bucar. “He had 16 years as a front-line officer and nine years as an executive manager. He spent 24 years in SWAT and 10 years as a SWAT commander.”
Since retiring McLay has worked as a consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Peduto said he begins his role as acting chief on Sept. 15 but will introduce himself to the media a few days beforehand.
Bucar said McLay is currently reviewing bureau policies.
“Cam may be the first chief brought in to lead the bureau, but he is the most qualified,” Peduto said. “He will have his work cut out to restore trust of the community, rebuild morale and make Pittsburgh a model force. I believe he is up to the task.”