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Pitt police Chief Delaney retiring as 'proud father' of department

| Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, 5:45 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh police Chief Tim Delaney said on Monday, November 18, 2013, that he’s retiring as a “proud father” of the department to focus on his growing role as grandfather.

University of Pittsburgh police Chief Tim Delaney said on Monday he's retiring as a “proud father” of the department to focus on his expanding role as a grandfather.

“I have family out of state and my granddaughter kept saying, ‘When are you coming down?' ” said Delaney, 61, of Reserve. “I started to see there's things in life other than work.”

Delaney joined Pitt police as a patrol officer in 1974 and was appointed chief in 2001. He oversaw the department's handling of the Group of 20 economic summit when large protests occurred in Oakland in 2009, the shooting at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in March 2012 and a series of bomb threats at the campus in the spring of 2012.

“I look back like a proud father on the organization,” Delaney said. “I've become the old guy I used to make fun of.”

Delaney said he stopped working Nov. 1,but has enough sick and vacation time accrued that he won't officially retire until Dec. 31. His father also was a Pitt police officer, and Delaney attended Pitt and worked as a school security guard before he was hired as an officer.

“I worked at Pitt since I was a teenager,” Delaney said. “I never left.”

The university hired retired Miami-Dade police department director James Loftus as deputy chief in July, Pitt spokesman Ken Service said. Loftus will serve as interim chief beginning Jan. 1, Service said.

“There will be a search of some kind to replace Chief Delaney, but there's no details yet,” Service said. “He will be hard to replace. He really had the best interest of the students at heart at all times.”

Delaney instituted active shooter training for his department after a gunman opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, killing 32 people and wounding 17. That training was put to use when Pitt police fatally shot Western Psych gunman John Shick, 30.

“My blood pressure that day was exactly what it is right now because I knew they could do it,” Delaney said.

Delaney said he started thinking about retiring this fall, but the death of Allegheny County Sheriff's deputy Sgt. Richard Fersch, 64, on Oct. 15 was a turning point. Fersch collapsed from an apparent heart attack on a bus on his way to work.

“He never retired,” Delaney said. “I thought, ‘I don't want that to be me.' ”

Delaney's wife retired last year, and his daughter, who lives in Virginia, is expecting her second child.

“It's nice because I forget what day of the week it is,” Delaney said. “I haven't shaved in two weeks. I'm enjoying myself. I'm just relaxed.”

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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