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Pittsburgh police promote longtime sergeant to command staff |

Pittsburgh police promote longtime sergeant to command staff

Megan Guza
| Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:16 p.m
Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Flanked by his family, Pittsburgh police Sgt. John Fisher is sworn in as commander by Mayor Bill Peduto.

Pittsburgh police promoted a longtime sergeant to the rank of commander Tuesday in a small ceremony in Mayor Bill Peduto’s office.

John Fisher, a Pittsburgh police officer for more than three decades, is now a commander in the administrative branch, where he will oversee the training academy, the Office of Municipal Investigations and the Office of Professional Standards.

Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich thanked Fisher for his decades of commitment.

“Being a commander in the city of Pittsburgh is not an easy task,” Hissrich said. “It’s a 24-hour-a-day, seven day a week career. I will be bothering you at night. The police chief will be bothering you at night, and possibly the mayor.”

Fisher was sworn in by Peduto, who noted that it is a rare thing to be promoted directly from sergeant to commander, skipping over lieutenant.

“That rare exception only is only done when somebody has the qualifications and the merit to be able to do so,” he said.

Fisher said he’s elated.

“I think this is something every police officer, when they’re hired, desires – to move up over the ranks to command staff,” he said.

Fisher has taught for years in the training academy and worked within the SWAT unit and Narcotics and Vice. As a negotiator with the SWAT unit, he was responsible for talking down Ronald Taylor who, in 2000, shot five people, killing three of them.

Cornered by police in a Wilkinsburg office building, Taylor threatened to kill himself for hours, turning the gun on police several times. Fisher successfully talked him down, and he was taken into custody.

His work that day led to an invitation to train at the FBI Academy in Quantico, he said.

Chief Scott Schubert said Fisher was the obvious choice for the leadership position.

“You were the right person to help take us to the next level in our accountability systems and our training,” he said. “You have a history with the Pittsburgh Police department of holding yourself accountable, holding others accountable, being fair, and being transparent.”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter .

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