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Irwin council hires former state police lieutenant as police chief

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 8:51 p.m.

A former state police lieutenant said he hopes a fresh set of eyes can revamp Irwin's police department.

Roger E. Pivirotto, of North Huntingdon, was named police chief last week. Among his credentials, Pivirotto worked for state police for 25 years, was a member of the Special Emergency Response tactical team and trained with the FBI.

“There's always room for improvement and I hope, coming from outside the department, I can identify things that need to be improved and we can move forward,” Pivirotto said.

Irwin's last chief, Joe Pocsatko, was fired during a meeting in January. Council voted to rehire him, only to then accept his voluntary resignation in February.

As part of the agreement, Pocsatko withdrew his pending request to the borough's civil service commission appealing his discharge, which he called a “wrongful termination.”

Council had been meeting privately with chief candidates over the past few months. The vote to hire Pivirotto passed 4-3, with council members Gail Macioce, Debbie Kelly and John Cassandro voting not to hire him.

Pivirotto recently retired from state police. His contract with Irwin will be for two years, earning $55,000 annually with no health care or benefits.

While with state police, Pivirotto reviewed fatal crash reports and created action plans for national events at Flight 93 ceremonies. He was also selected to train at the FBI academy where he studied different trends related to drug manufacturing and transportation.

He said he hopes to draw from that experience to lead the department.

“I'm told there's some drug problems there and I've already been in contact with the state,” he said. “I'll have to go down and see what resources I have to combat any kind of drug problems.”

Pivirotto said he also wants to build relationships with surrounding police departments and other police chiefs to monitor crime trends. Strengthening bonds with residents and community leaders will also improve the standard of living in Irwin, he said.

“Someone with a fresh set of eyes can let them know what's working and what's not working,” Pivirotto said. “I want to re-establish trust with the community.”

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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