Acting police chief aims to arrest borough's 'bad rap'
The Mosesso File
'Everyone transitions through our town,' the borough's acting police chief said. 'That's why this borough gets a bad rap.'
Founded in 1769, Mt. Oliver is surrounded by the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Knoxville, Carrick and Allentown. Mosesso was named acting police chief two months ago after Chief John V. Hindmarch, 67, had sextuple heart-bypass surgery and replacement of his carotid artery.
Hindmarch, a 35-year veteran of the force, looks good and is taking his time to recover, said Councilman Pat Malloy, who has chaired the traffic and public-safety committee for six years.
Malloy said he told Mosesso after his appointment that he expected just one thing: 'If you want to institute policy - make changes - do your homework. Mmake sure you're going the right way, and I'll back you 100 percent.'
Mosesso decided to do something about Mt. Oliver's bad rap.
With drug trafficking his No. 1 law-enforcement challenge, the chief got the department involved in the Allegheny County District Attorney's Drug Task Force.
Two officers completed their two days of training with the force earlier this month, and three more will train soon.
Coordinated by Officer Robert DiPippa, Mt. Oliver's drug-task force will trade officers with other municipalities to make drug buys and to do surveillance. If a drug transaction starts in Mt. Oliver, for example, the borough's drug task force will lead the investigation.
Mosesso also has council's approval to double the number of patrol vehicles, from two to four, and to add two officers for a total force of 15 police officers.
'We're trying to make the residents feel safe,' he said of the increased visibility that more vehicles and officers will bring. Mt. Oliver's population has been declining, and now is at 3,970 residents according to census figures.
By the end of May, Mosesso said, he hopes to have one of the two new officers working an overnight shift from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. The second new officer will patrol on foot during daylight hours in the business district.
He also expects to have the two new vehicles by the end of May.
In addition to targeting the drug problem, Mt. Oliver police will get involved in local efforts to curb drunken drivers.
The borough will join the South Hills Region DUI task force in September, with Officer David Bujakowski as the local coordinator.
A special response team also is in the planning stages.
Mosesso said he wants his officers to be trained and equipped to handle, for example, hostage situations and school shootings. He is applying for grants for weapons and a vehicle.
The borough already has its own firearms instructor - Officer Kirk Radzuikinas, who was trained last year. And Officer William Kilburn is reconfiguring the department's computer system.
Mosesso and Kilburn, during the past two months, have donated some of their off-duty time to remodeling the police department's interior.
Using their construction skills, the two completely gutted the chief's office and the police room. They rewired the rooms with a new computer network in mind and now are hanging drywall, adding trim and installing new ceilings and carpeting.
'We just got sick of looking at it,' Kilburn said, explaining the renovations.
Mosesso said materials for the project are costing the borough about $5,000.
To continue the building upgrade, council has approved adding two holding cells and an evidence room.
'The man that deserved the job got the job,' Kilburn said of Mosesso being named acting chief.
Malloy said Mosesso was Hindmarch's first choice for the position.
Howard McClellan can be reached at email@example.com or at (412) 306-4536.