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Pleasant Hills police chief to say goodbye

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Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, 3:21 a.m.
 

Pleasant Hills police Chief Edward Cunningham, a 37-year veteran of the department, is calling it a career.

Cunningham, 64, started as a patrolman and then was lieutenant for 13 years. He has been chief for six years.

His retirement takes effect on Tuesday.

Sgt. Brian Finnerty will become chief on Wednesday, and Lt. Sean Greene will be deputy chief.

“They're both excellent,” Cunningham said. “We're leaving the department in good hands. The most important thing is integrity and honor. When you add their experience, they were the most qualified.”

Finnerty and Greene each have served Pleasant Hills for more than 15 years.

Cunningham worked for Allegheny County police from 1973-76. His father is former Pittsburgh police Sgt. Ed Cunningham. His sons Tony and Ed Cunningham Jr. work for Pittsburgh police.

“It's in our blood,” the retiring chief said.

His daughter Amy Lynn Cunningham is a doctor of psychology in Philadelphia.

Cunningham said he plans to spend more time with his family.

A resolution read by Solicitor Fred Jug Jr. at December's council meeting recognized Cunningham for his contributions, and borough officials offered congratulations.

“You set the goal and you exceeded it far beyond our expectations, and took the police force to a new level,” Councilman William Trimbath said.

Mayor Warren Bourgeois said a quality police chief makes all the difference for a mayor and a town.

“If you've got a bad chief, it's hell,” Bourgeois said. “And it hasn't been hell.”

Cunningham was instrumental in developing the borough's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, National Night Out, visits with Santa and the K-9 program.

“We have a first-rate police department, and we have an excellent relationship with the community,” Cunningham said. “That's the most important thing ­— our police-community partnership.”

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965 or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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