Former embattled Boise chief appears in line to become next Pittsburgh police chief, sources say

Sources tell Channel 11 that the former embattled Boise, Idaho, police chief appears to be in line to become the next Pittsburgh police chief.

Lee spent years with the Portland, Oregon department before becoming the chief in Boise.

However, while he was chief, Lee allegedly broke a sergeant’s neck during a tactical demonstration.

“I have some serious concerns about the background of this individual that is rumored to be the next chief of police,” said Beth Pittinger, the executive director of Pittsburgh Citizen Review Board.

Channel 11 obtained a letter from prosecutors to state police and Boise police last year saying it wasn’t an easy decision, but they had decided not to charge Lee.

The letter also said Boise officers who were there told prosecutors Lee bragged about the number of hands-on use-of-force incidents he experienced in Portland and was even involved in a violent incident with a co-worker in Portland.

Beth Pittinger wants to know was the incident taken into consideration before he was selected and who was part of this recommendation to the mayor.

“We understand there were three committees established to review the final three candidates that were recommended by the contractor but we don’t know how they vetted these candidates. We don’t know who the candidates were. That was a very secretive process,” said Pittinger.

Channel 11 spoke with Alex Duggan, an investigate reporter at the NBC affiliate in Boise, who covered Lee’s time as chief. She said there have also been multiple complaints of low morale in the Boise police department.

Duggan said Boise’s mayor asked Lee to resign after the complaints about him were made public.

Pittinger said she doesn’t know if lee will help the morale at Pittsburgh Police.

“The Pittsburgh Bureau of police right now is in need of some secure, some clear direction and establishment approach to law enforcement in the city of Pittsburgh,” said Pittinger.

Channel 11 reached out to Mayor Ed Gainey’s office asking if Lee has been selected and if his background was taken into consideration. Gainey’s office said the mayor will be making his announcement for the next chief of police within the next two weeks.

The FOP president Bob Swartzwelder said, “As long as the new chief follows the contract, there won’t be any issues with the FOP.”

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