Chief Scott Schubert reflects on his time with the Pittsburgh Police

PITTSBURGH — In just about a week, Pittsburgh’s top cop will be retiring after nearly 30 years on the force.

Chief Scott Schubert will be leaving for a position with the FBI.

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Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle has covered Schubert’s entire career, and Earle sat down today with Schubert for a one-on-one interview.

But Earle wasn’t sure it was going to happen this morning after the Chief got into a car accident while responding to a domestic incident on the North Side.

It was only a fender bender and everyone is fine.

Earle sat down with Schubert at Police headquarters on the North Side.

Schubert told Earle that his greatest accomplishment was becoming a Pittsburgh Police officer. While he will miss the job, his co-workers and the people in the community, he said the FBI job is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he just couldn’t pass up.

Like his father and uncle before him, all Scott Schubert ever wanted to do was to become a Pittsburgh Police Officer, but Schubert never imagined when he started on the job in March of 1993 that he would go on to become the Chief of the Bureau.

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And after his nearly three decade career, Schubert has seen and done it all. He’ll never forget the darkest days. In April of 2009, three officers were gunned down outside a home in Stanton Heights while responding to a domestic call.

“Those officers were on our minds every day and are still on our minds,” said Schubert.

And nine years later in October of 2018, a mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill left 11 congregants dead and several police officers wounded.

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“I’ll be forever grateful to everybody that was there that day,” said Schubert.

With Schubert at the helm, the department has faced some criticism for the handling of police brutality protests in East Liberty and Shadyside in 2020 and the tasing death of Jim Rogers in Bloomfield last October.

Five police officers were fired after Rogers was tased ten times and died at the hospital the next day. An internal report found that the officers failed to get Rogers medical attention.

“There’s no doubt, I’ve said that from day one and that’s after watching and seeing (the video), everybody doesn’t have that luxury. We have a duty to care for people.”

As he prepares to leave, Schubert said one of his biggest concerns about the department is staffing levels. As more officers resign or retire, there’s been no new academy class in nearly three years.

With fewer officers, Schubert said there’s less time for critically important training.

“We are under the spotlight all the time for decisions that we make, that we do or don’t do so that’s why I think there should be more police officers,” said Schubert, who said with more officers, other officers can be rotated in and out of training. He said that will better prepare officers for the job they have to do.

Schubert, who contemplated retirement two years ago, will join the FBI in Clarksburg West Virginia as the head of global law enforcement support. He began pursuing the job back in December. It was an opportunity, he told Earle, he couldn’t pass up.

“From local law enforcement to take a position in the FBI that helps local law enforcement, it was a no-brainer. Oh, it was perfect,” said Schubert.

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Earle also asked the Chief about two high-profile investigations that remain unsolved, the deadly shooting at the Air BNB on the North Side and the shooting death of that Oliver Academy student inside a school van outside Oliver Academy in Brighton Heights.

He said detectives are still working both cases and he’s optimistic that they’ll be new developments soon.

Schubert’s last day with the city is July first.

He starts the following week with the FBI and he says he’ll continue to live in Pittsburgh and rent an apartment in Clarksburg.

Mayor Ed Gainey said he is conducting a nationwide search for a new chief. Assistant Chief Tom Stangrecki will take over as the interim Police Chief.