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CPRB Board Meeting Blog – December 5th, 2023

CPRB Board Meeting Blog – December 5th, 2023

Post by Nigel Parry. The Board Meeting Blog is an unofficial citizen record of the meetings and does not reflect any official CPRB position or policy, and is simply offered as a quick way of keeping up with what happens at the board meetings. Quotes may be shortened and sometimes paraphrased for clarity. Watch full-length video recordings of all CPRB meetings at


Executive Director Elizabeth Pittinger gave her report.

CPRB Executive Director Beth Pittinger

CPRB Executive Director Beth Pittinger

CPRB had its budget meeting with the City this morning. There are no budget changes to report and everything seems fine.

CPRB has received 217 complaints to date this year. 22 were out of our jurisdiction. 7 exceeded the permissible time limit to file a complaint. That leaves us with 188 cases.

Ms. Michelle Hershner has prepared a summary of the complaints broken down by police zone. Zone 3 has the greatest number of complaints.

Last year, in 2022, CPRB received 232 complaints compared with 227 complaints in 2021. “These numbers are significantly lower than what we’ve been accustomed to over the years the Board has received complaints.”

The director welcomed new members. For Council Seat number 1, Mr. Gregory Cotler, and for Council Seat number 3, Ms. Terry Shields. Ms. Shields and Mr. Cotler were sworn into their seats last Tuesday, December 26th.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto

The meeting had a guest, Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto. The Chief was provided with a list of things the Board hoped he would address regarding reorganizations in the Bureau.

Ms. Pittinger said that CPRB has received positive feedback about the Community Engagement Unit of the police force, and noted the Chief’s philosophy was that “every officer is a community officer.”

Chief Scirotto spoke of the past reality, in which the Bureau had 9 neighborhoods but only 3, sometimes 4 people, to cover them all. While the officers did a good job, he said, the unit is being reorganized so that sergeants will have responsibility for the community groups in their zone’s neighborhood. Zone 1 Cares was held up as a model for the future.

Chief Larry Scirotto

The Chief was involved in 2009 and 2010 with the Street Crimes Unit, which had a very different approach to what has been done in the past. It was not a source of contention in any way, with just one complaint in two years. The Chief said the Unit was not about saturation policing and it wasn’t a ‘jump out squad’ but rather an intelligence-led organization focused on engagement and building relationships, so that “it didn’t feel like policing or casting a net, over the whole neighborhood.”

The Unit identified people who caused harm in the community, gave them the option and help to find appropriate services, and it was only after they refused that they would be dealt with from a criminal justice standpoint. “It was carefully thought out, so it wasn’t a group of young officers terrorizing the neighborhood.” The officers involved in the Unit were carefully chosen and had “a certain temperament” suited to the role.

Ms. Pittinger brought up the issue of retention in the police department, something she had been interviewed about by local NBC affiliate WPXI (report below). The Community Service Aide program was designed to engage young people in the neighborhood, especially the 18-22 age group of inner city youth, who may not be eligible to serve as officers but can work in other ways with the Bureau. This allowed the police department to recruit diverse employees from the City, who are from the neighborhoods, and who know the City. The program did include some older people too, but the focus was primarily on the youth.

When officers receive a call for service about a burglary that has already happened, for example, and there is no safety issue requiring a sworn officer, a community service aide can be sent to take the report. Traffic work also was part of their role. This allows the Bureau to mentor people and absorb them into its work.

The Chief said that “the pension language” and laws in place were sticking points and said that they were also exploring ways to encourage these former officers to return to the Bureau.

Ms. Terri Shields asked the Chief how they would engage the youth in the programs. The Chief emphasized that community groups who are willing to work with the police are a key part of this process to build connections between the police and young people.


Screenshot: WPXI investigation into police resignations

On December 4th, WPXI broadcast a report about Pittsburgh police officers setting a new resignation record, noting that “more Pittsburgh police officers have resigned this year than any other year during the past decade. Forty-five officers have resigned so far. That number does not include retirements.”

The channel interviewed Ms. Pittinger, who believed that the high number of resignations was the sign of a much deeper problem, especially since the big pay raise officers got earlier this year.

“That tells me we have a real serious morale problem, and I’m not sure what’s influencing all that because they did end up with a very good contract,” Pittinger told WPXI.

WPXI interviews Beth Pittinger
WPXI reported that, “Pittinger suggested changes implemented by the chief, including controversial new starting times that some officers contend aren’t conducive to work-life balance, may be leading to the departures.”

WPXI investigation statistics“In addition to the 45 resignations,” WPXI noted, “26 officers have retired this year, one died and 23 are set to retire soon for a total of 95 departures. With only 46 recruits in two academy classes this year, resignations and retirements continue to outpace hirings.”

In a statement to 11 Investigates, Pittsburgh Police Union President Bob Swartzwelder, “who’s sounded the staffing alarm for years,” WPXI reported, said “…as long as its non-competitive salary and benefits package continues, the city police numbers will continue to dwindle to an unsustainable level, resulting in business and citizens leaving the city.”

WPXI investigation - police union statement

“Swartzwelder has said some officers are leaving for higher-paying and less stressful jobs at suburban departments, where they can expect to start with six-figure salaries.”

“The city budgeted for 850 officers next year but only has 770 right now,” WPXI reported, “down from more than 1,000 just five years ago, under the Peduto administration”


Two of the Board seats are still pending replacements. Dr. Emma Lucas-Darby’s nominated successor for Mayoral Seat #6, which is a non-Law Enforcement Professional seat, is Mr. Daylon Davis. He had his interview with the City Council yesterday.

mr. Sheldon WilliamsMr. Sheldon Williams, currently occupying Mayoral Seat #7, a Law Enforcement Professional seat, was not re-nominated for the position. No explanation as to why was given during the Board meeting.

Ms. Nicole Edwards will be starting as a new CPRB investigator beginning on December 18th. She has an extensive and appropriate resume, with a Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a public research university in Indiana, PA. She has a BA in Communication from Howard University in Washington, DC, and has studied at Cambridge University in the UK.

Ms Edwards has served around six years as Pennsylvania Probation and Parole officer, a deputy constable in the city of Baton Rouge in Louisiana, and currently works as a private investigator.


The meeting calendar has been distributed to members. It was accepted as written and can be found on the Upcoming Meetings page on CPRB’s website.


The October 24th Board meeting minutes were approved without any amendments.

The 19 current cases were continued without any questions.

Please browse CPRB’s Case Action Agendas here for case-related documents and information:


There were no public comments.

Ms. Pittinger closed out the meeting noting that CPRB will enter 2024 with an excellent new staff to support the Board and, on behalf of the City, deeply appreciates the work done by the Board.

Watch the December 5th Board meeting

December 5th Board Meeting Documents

Meeting AgendaDraft minutes (for review)Case Agenda (for review)

Post by Nigel Parry. The Board Meeting Blog is an unofficial citizen record of the meetings and does not reflect any official CPRB position or policy, and is simply offered as a quick way of keeping up with what happens at the board meetings. Quotes may be shortened and sometimes paraphrased for clarity. Watch full-length video recordings of all CPRB meetings at

City of Pittsburgh • Citizen Police Review Board

About the CPRB

The Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) is an independent agency within the City of Pittsburgh set up to investigate citizen complaints about improper conduct by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. MORE

CPRB 2024 Meeting Dates

January 23, 2024
February 27, 2024
March 26, 2024
April 23, 2024
May 28, 2024
June 25, 2024
July 23, 2024
Sept. 24, 2024
October 22, 2024
December 3, 2024

More meeting details & documents