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New police spokeswoman returns home

| Monday, July 29, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

The new face of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has never carried a badge or gun.

"Working for the police is a brand new experience for me, but I've been around law enforcement for some time," said Tammy Ewin, who this month joined the bureau as the public information officer. "My uncle was a detective for the city for 25 or 30 years, and my husband has been in law enforcement, so I've always had a lot of interest."

Ewin's fascination with police work — and desire to move back home to Pittsburgh after an 18-year absence — were too much to resist when the job opened up last year, she said.

Now the 36-year-old Reserve Township native and North Catholic High School graduate is focusing on re-introducing herself to the city she loves.

"I've met more people in the past two weeks than I've ever known before," Ewin said. "I'm just trying to learn all the policies and procedures and people in the city and department so I can help serve the city."

Ewin's new job, with a city salary of $68,000, will thrust her into the media spotlight whenever attention turns to the police and crimes in the city. She is the official spokeswoman for the police bureau, responsible for providing timely information to the public on public safety issues, ongoing criminal investigations and departmental activities.

She said her background in public relations should go a long way toward preparing her for the task.

She earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 1988 and a master's in organizational communication in 1990 from the University of Dayton. From there she went to work for a Dayton, Ohio, school, home and office products trade organization called SHOPA. She left a job with SHOPA as its director of marketing and public relations to be the public relations director for Kronos Optimal Health Co. in Phoenix.

And now she and her new husband Paul — who is right now driving here from Phoenix with a U-Haul truck and their dog — have bought a house on the city's North Side while she learns the ins and outs of police work.

"I know it's going to be more fast-paced and unpredictable than what I did in the business world," she said. "Once I learn who's who and what's where, I'll start doing some ride-alongs with police officers to get a better feel for what they do."

Ewin said she knows that the new job may only be a temporary one, given the sometimes-political nature of police administration. A new mayor could install a new chief and command staff, and she could be job-searching again.

"I've always just done the best job I can each day," she said.

And while the job has yet to land her in the middle of an active crime scene late at night, Ewin said she knows that day will come soon.

"I do have a bulletproof vest," she said with a laugh. "They gave me one of those because I know someday it may come in handy."

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