ShareThis Page

Pastin: Harbin ready for a little R&R after remarkable Carnegie career

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jeff Harbin is a class act who deserves a long retirement after years of service to his hometown of Carnegie.

It is difficult to freeze 37 years into a lasting snapshot, but Harbin clearly reached his zenith on the night of Sept. 17, 2004, when the remnants of Hurricane Ivan blew into town and caused unprecedented flooding in low-lying Carnegie.

More than 20 people were stranded on the Mansfield Boulevard bridge and fearing for their lives.

Harbin kept the crowd calm as he mapped out a strategy to secure several rescue boats to get the trapped people out of harm's way.

There was one death that night locally, when Dennis Santiago, 35, lost his grip on a hanging tree limb and fell into the raging floodwaters. His body was found three days later under the Thornburg Bridge in Crafton.

Harbin later would say these were among his most harrowing moments in law enforcement.

Remember, this is a man who served in the Marine Corps and feared little.

Harbin became the go-to person when it came to crime issues in and out of town. He had a way of articulating complex issues.

Radio talk-show host Marty Griffin regularly called on Harbin to explain often complicated crime news.

Other media outlets took advantage of his savvy.

When the Carnegie crime rate soared one year recently because of a spike in reports at Carnegie Towers, Harbin waxed eloquently about a rough-edged issue involving this government-subsidized hot spot.

This is a “complicated and volatile issue” that will take a “collaborative effort” to manage, he said.

“We need to balance the rights of neighborhood residents to live in peace and tranquility with the rights of law-abiding, low-income people to live in safe and affordable housing.”

He kept fit by running every day — miles and miles.

Some say he kept his sanity, too, by running.

His resolve was tested in the past two and a half years, as he has served the dual role of police chief and borough manager.

He needs some R&R.

He has earned it.

Bob Pastin is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5801 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.