COMMUNITY OUTREACH—Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay addresses members of the African American Chamber of Commerce at their July 17 PowerBreakfast meeting. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

COMMUNITY OUTREACH—Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay addresses members of the African American Chamber of Commerce at their July 17 PowerBreakfast meeting. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

After apologizing for having to delay his appearance by a week, Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay told members of the African American Chamber of Commerce he is working to have the antiquated civil service hiring model for police updated to allow more flexibility in bringing on new personnel.

And “antiquated” was not an exaggeration.

“We have a 1907 civil service model driving our hiring,” he said during his July 17 PowerBreakfast address. “We want to reconfigure it so we can screen and hire differently. There is an alternate model that is in place elsewhere.”

Currently, once applicants are tested, the bureau must pick academy candidates from the top 100, in descending order. McLay wants to be able to pick any from the top 100.

“The old systems was intended to fight cronyism, but it doesn’t work, and it selects out the possibility of hiring for values,” said McLay. “Do you want to be Rambo? Do you want to kick butt and take names, or do you want to serve and be a part of the community? I want to be able to select for values and skills as needs arise.”

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