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Controversial C-TIPS unit among Pittsburgh police squads transferred out of chief's office

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 3:57 p.m.

Acting Chief Regina McDonald on Monday shifted more Pittsburgh police officers away from direct supervision by the chief's office, including a unit that former Chief Nate Harper began that drew criticism from officers and city officials.

McDonald ordered Harper's hand-picked investigation unit, known as C-TIPS, to be disbanded. Many of the detectives in the unit will join the narcotics and vice unit that Cmdr. Cheryl Doubt heads, according to an internal police memo.

Officers and city council members questioned the work of C-TIPS, or the Community Technical Investigative and Preparedness Section. Many of the unit's detectives had ties to Harper, whom Mayor Luke Ravenstahl ousted last month because of a federal investigation into police spending.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said the internal moves were at the chief's discretion.

McDonald has said she believes the chief is too busy to directly oversee specialized units. Last month, she shifted to an assistant chief the supervision of the personnel and finance office, one of several that appear to be focuses of the FBI investigation.

This week's transfers include members of the bomb squad to the special deployment division that Cmdr. Scott Schubert heads. The transfers include Sgt. Matthew Gauntner, one of Ravenstahl's bodyguards, to special deployment.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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