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New Pittsburgh police chief gets familiar with surroundings on first day

| Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, 11:03 p.m.
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police's incoming Chief Cameron McLay speaks during a news conference with members of the media in the Mayor's conference room at the City County Building, Downtown on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.
Justin Merriman | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police's incoming Chief Cameron McLay speaks during a news conference with members of the media in the Mayor's conference room at the City County Building, Downtown on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.

Pittsburgh police headquarters got a new boss and a new sign on the same day.

Workers erected the sign on the side of the North Side building as the new acting chief, Cameron McLay, toured its halls on Monday.

Spokeswoman Sonya Toler said it was a coincidence.

Ross Development Co., which manages the property, paid for the “Pittsburgh Bureau of Police” sign that workers placed on the side of the building facing Western Avenue, President and CEO Tony Ross said.

It's the first time the building had a sign since police moved in about 11 years ago.

“It was something we always intended to do,” said Ross, though he acknowledged it wasn't a priority.

McLay, 56, declined an interview. He spent the day in multiple meetings, Toler said.

McLay met with mayoral Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin, representatives from the Law Department and members of police administration, Toler said.

Mayor Bill Peduto was at a conference in Arizona.

McLay arrived at police headquarters in a suit after 11 a.m. and stayed until about 2 p.m., when he left for new-employee orientation. McLay must pass Pennsylvania police Act 120 accreditation from the Municipal Police Officers' Education & Training Commission.

He started meeting police officers during the weekend, attending the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1's annual softball game, said Detective Jim Glick, vice president of the union.

He said about 200 people came to the game Sunday in Brookline, and McLay spent about four hours talking with officers.

“It was unprecedented,” Glick said. “He wanted to talk to the guys in a social setting, prior to being the boss.”

McLay, a former Madison, Wis., police captain and leadership consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said during his introductory press conference on Friday that he planned to visit police stations and talk with officers about problems.

On Monday, McLay “spent some time with (Assistant Chief of Administration Regina) McDonald,” Toler said.

McDonald was acting chief beginning in February 2013, when former Chief Nate Harper stepped down amid a federal investigation. Harper pleaded guilty to stealing money from the bureau and failing to file taxes. He's serving an 18-month prison sentence.

Toler said McDonald returned to her previous position of assistant chief.

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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