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Pittsburgh police curtail 'chief's' passes

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By Margaret Harding
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Pittsburgh police quietly stopped issuing “chief's office” parking passes this year once officials learned Mayor Bill Peduto's administration is investigating the practice, Acting Chief Regina McDonald said Friday.

The chief said some officers might be using the 108 parking variances her office issued last year. They weren't included in the 271 Pittsburgh Parking Authority free passes Peduto's office announced this week it would review. Peduto plans to scale back the number of passes, but he hasn't indicated how passes given to police would be affected.

“We're waiting to get authorization and see what the new plan is going to be,” McDonald said. “We haven't issued any. Some people are using theirs from 2013. I'm using mine when I park on Ross Street when I go to a meeting.”

Peduto on Thursday issued an executive order that requires Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa to inventory all passes issued to city and authority personnel, establish a written policy for the use of passes and distribute the policy to Peduto and all top administrators within 30 days.

Any outstanding passes in violation of the policy will be revoked in February.

Kevin Acklin, Peduto's chief of staff, this week said most of the passes weren't necessary and said they cost the parking authority more than $1 million in lost revenue. Acklin said Friday he didn't know how many the police department had issued.

McDonald refused to provide a list of who received the 2013 passes. She said they were for street and meter parking.

“They're basically used for our specialty units and our command staff and other law enforcement people,” McDonald said. “There's a variety of reasons, but it's usually because it's something related to their duties … I wouldn't say we're taking advantage of meter spaces.”

McDonald said the Mayor's Office didn't request a list of the police parking passes.

“If they need the list, I will forward it to them,” she said. “But we're not issuing any. I would think they would ask us for a recommendation of who should get one, but they may make a determination themselves. We'll wait and see.”

Acklin said the police passes will be part of Costa's review.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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