Target 11: Pittsburgh police officer under investigation for social media post

PITTSBURGH — Target 11 has learned that a Pittsburgh police officer has been taken off the street and assigned to desk duty after a social media post criticizing Pittsburgh leaders.

Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle obtained a copy of the social media post.

Earle said the officer at first raised some legitimate questions about police manpower shortages, but then went on a rant about city leaders.

He didn’t name anyone, but sources tell Target 11 that he linked the post to the Pittsburgh police social media site.

In the post, the officer claims there won’t be enough new academy classes to replace the officers who have already left or who will leave.

It’s an issue that’s been repeatedly raised by the president of the police officers union. The union has said that more than 200 of the 845 officers on the force could retire right now.

There hasn’t been an academy class in nearly three years, but earlier this month Mayor Ed Gainey announced plans for two academy classes. One is supposed to begin this fall, with another starting next spring.

Acting chief Thomas Stangrecki also expressed concern about staffing in a Sept. 2 memo to the department obtained by Target 11.

“Due to the rate of retirements and resignations, every Branch and Unit is experiencing a staffing shortage until the new recruit class can be hired,” wrote Stangrecki.

In that memo, Stangrecki urged every officer on the force to help out by volunteering for at least one overtime shift per week.

Today at the weekly police news briefing, the acting chief spoke out again about manpower problems.

“We have our motor officers who are trying to assist the zones with accidents, any closures any demonstrations, and so forth, as is our mounted patrol,” said Stangrecki.

The officer who wrote the social media post also suggested that manpower issues are “part of a much bigger and pervasive problem.” He also wrote that Pittsburgh leaders are “dishonest, untrustworthy, and look after their own interests.  Pittsburgh is a liberal clown show and the people who run it need to repent.”

Sources tell Target 11 that the officer hashtagged the city police social media site.

Target 11 has also learned that the officer has been placed on desk duty at the warrant office pending the outcome of an investigation.

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