Interim Pitcairn police chief takes hands-on approach
Interim police Chief Scott Farally said his experience as a Pitcairn officer and resident has taught him that foot patrols and face time are crucial.
“It makes community relations better,” he said. “If crime is predictable, it's preventable.”
Farally was given one year to prove he is the right man for the job, after the former police chief, Dennis Hockenberry, retired in June.
When council appointed Farally as interim chief, Councilman John Bova said he appeared to be highly motivated and dedicated to the town. Farally, 44, has been a police officer for 15 years in Braddock, Clairton and Pitcairn.
Mayor John McCreary said last week that Farally has risen to the occasion.
“He's here, he's dedicated, I think he's doing well,” McCreary said. In addition to the chief, Pitcairn has three full-time and eight part-time officers.
A strong police presence is crucial in alleyways and on street corners known for drug activity, Farally said.
He was on foot patrol in Diamond Alley two weeks ago when he spotted a man standing in a known drug area, where a “No Trespass” sign was posted, according to a criminal complaint.
“He's been advised not to be in the area before,” Farally said.
The man fled and Farally gave chase before apprehending him on Third Street. Police seized four grams of crack cocaine, wrapped in 14 pouches, and nearly $900 in cash, according to the complaint.
Police charged Jason Spell, 18, of George Street in Turtle Creek, with possession, possession with intent to deliver, disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia in connection with the June 21 incident, according to the complaint.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in Monroeville, after this paper's print deadline.
At the June 25 council meeting, Farally spoke with a Pitcairn resident who said she witnessed a drug deal near her home.
“My son and I watched the drugs being transferred,” the woman told council. “My son is only 10 years old.”
Council President John Prucnal applauded her decision to alert police.
“I think citizens need to be more like you,” Prucnal said. “I think you've done the right thing.”
Farally exchanged information with the resident.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.