A job well done, Pleasant Hills chief calls it a career
Pleasant Hills' top cop wouldn't give anyone advice he wouldn't follow himself.
“This is a profession and a vocation, not just a job,” said Edward Cunningham, who will retire at the end of the month after 6 years as chief. “Police make a big difference in peoples' lives and connect with the community.”
At age 64 and with 37 years on duty in the borough and four years prior with the Allegheny County police, Cunningham is ending a career into which he was born.
“It's in my blood,” said Cunningham, whose father and uncles were police officers.
His sons are members of the Pittsburgh Police Department. His daughter chose medicine for her life's work.
Cunningham couldn't have been happier to represent his community, and he went about his work establishing one-on-one relationships, starting with children. Each day, he paid a visit to McClellan Elementary School and Pleasant Hills Middle School, not just to visit with the administration but to walk the halls and get to know the students. He initiated this program about 20 years ago as a lieutenant in the department.
He called Friday's visit to the elementary school one of his career highlights.
“The kids gave me handmade cards and balloons,” he said.
That morning, Cunningham was greeted with cheers and thank you's as “Hail to the Chief” played over the intercom.
Throughout the years, teens have met him on the streets of the community and announced “You were my DARE officer in elementary school!”
Once the relationship is forged: “If they need anything, they can go to the police officers.”
For him, “The biggest gift the community can give is trust.”
William Trimbath, with 16 years on borough council, sees the chief in the brightest of lights.
“The chief exceeded our expectations …,” he said. “He instilled honor and pride on the entire police force. He was a true leader in the time he has served.”
Cunningham remembered performing CPR on a 6-month-old and delivering a few babies over the years. Because officers respond to every ambulance call, they are first on the scene.
A less happy moment while on the force was the case involving a quadruple homicide involving a woman and three children.
Cunningham plans to relax for a few months and settle into a no-shift routine — that is, until his wife, Tammy, presents her two-page “honey do” list.
While she is pleased to have her own private security, he's a little uncertain.
“I'll probably drive my wife nuts,” he said.
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Column: New audiobook tool helps listeners customize experience
- Thomas Jefferson’s public relations class’ next project: ‘The Addams Family’
- Bilingual books open Whitehall students to their culture
- Pleasant Hills Garden Club discussion going to the ‘birds’
- Baldwin High School newspaper snags top honors again at competition
- Memoir-writing course set to start this month at Whitehall library
- New system offers easier access to Baldwin Borough officials
- Resident feedback sought for Baldwin park improvements