Arnold approves retirement of city's only female police chief
The first woman to lead the Arnold Police Department has retired from the force.
On Tuesday, council accepted the resignation of Sgt. Shannon Santucci-Davis.
Santucci-Davis made history when, on June 9, 2015, then-Mayor Larry Milito appointed her Arnold’s police chief, and she became the first woman to ascend to that position.
She held that job for slightly less than six months. When current Mayor Karen Peconi, Arnold’s first female mayor, took office in January 2016, she demoted Santucci-Davis to her previous rank of sergeant and replaced her with another former chief, Eric Doutt.
An Arnold native, Santucci-Davis served on the Arnold force for 11 years. Before that, she worked as a University of Pittsburgh police officer for 13 years.
Peconi applauded Santucci-Davis’ service to the city, saying she “did a good job.”
“The kids are really going to miss her; she did a lot of work with them,” Peconi said.
The retirement led to Councilman Joseph Bia saying he would like to reconvene the Civil Service Commission to conduct tests for new officer candidates and made a motion to that effect.
Peconi, who oversees the police department, told Bia now is not the time for that. She said the city “isn’t ready.”
But Councilman Phillip McKinley said calling for police Civil Service testing is not up to the mayor but to council.
“We either hire from the list we have, which has two people on it, or we retest and come up with a new list, or we can spend thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money to pay overtime,” McKinley said.
After Peconi spoke to Solicitor David Regoli for a few minutes, Regoli said Bia’s motion still was on the floor and called for a vote.
The motion to hold a new test for police candidates was approved, with Peconi joining the rest of council in voting for it.
Following the meeting, Peconi was asked why she initially opposed the testing.
“I prefer not to talk about it,” she said.
For a profile of Shannon Santucci-Davis, see Monday’s Tribune-Review Valley News Dispatch edition.
Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.