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Zone 3 Lt. Larry Scirotto promoted to Pittsburgh police commander


Mayor William Peduto congratulates new Commander Larry Scirotto after a swearing-in ceremony held in City Council Chambers last week. Commander Scirotto will take over command of Zone 3 after the retirement of current commander Catherine McNeilly.

As the result of promotions to the rank of assistant chief, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Cameron McLay initiated a promotional process for the rank of police commander.

The focus of the evaluation process was to identify candidates who demonstrate their understanding and commitment to the bureau's core values of "Accountability, Integrity and Respect," the law enforcement code of ethics, community policing and model leadership. 

"Effective today, December 15, 2014, I am very pleased to announce the promotion to police commander of Lieutenant Larry Scirotto, Lieutenant Jason A. Lando, and Sergeant LaVonnie Bickerstaff," said Chief McLay.

The promotional process included the submission of a letter of interest and resume, a review of performance evaluations, feedback from the candidates' past and present supervisors, answering an essay question and appearing before an oral interview panel.

All Civil Service eligible personnel were permitted to apply. Published promotional guidelines made clear that while supervisors in the rank of sergeant and lieutenant would be considered and evaluated, priority for the position of commander would be given to those that have successfully served in the rank of lieutenant.

However, present civil service rules permit non-sequential promotions. Since many lieutenants had never been sergeants, and many sergeants frequently serve as acting lieutenant, both ranks were deemed eligible, and the final determination would be based on performance in the total process.

The 24 oral interviews occurred over three days. The panel consisted of a member of command staff (Chief Maurita Bryant or Chief Thomas Stangrecki), Police Officer Steve Mescan, a representative from city Personnel (Jennifer Williamson or Colleen Hanley), Office of Municipal Investigations Manager Deborah Walker and Chief McLay.

Each participant responded to three separate questions on important organization level leadership topics. Their responses were evaluated based upon pre-determined benchmarks. The panel provided feedback to either "Recommend" or "Not Recommend" each candidate for the rank of commander. Those recommended were placed upon an eligibility list from which selections would be made. 

"I was extremely impressed by the quality of the candidate pool," Chief McLay says. "There are far more candidates who qualified to be commanders than there are potential commander vacancies in the coming year. This bodes well for the future of this fine bureau."

"I am excited to welcome Commanders Scirotto, Lando and Bickerstaff to my command team. Their leadership, passion and commitment will be vital as we move forward, restoring the integrity of our systems, and building bonds within the communities we serve," Chief McLay said.

Police Commander Larry R. Scirotto started his career with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police on January 16, 1995. He has served in the bureau's Operations and Investigations branches during his nearly 20 years of service.

He has been a leader for the Bureau of Police since January 24, 1995 when he was promoted to sergeant. On June 21, 2010, he was promoted to police lieutenant.

His experience includes Operations Patrol, Narcotics & Vice, Canine, Sex Assault & Family Crisis and Traffic. Commander Scirotto is an adjunct instructor for the Pittsburgh Police Training Academy where he teaches courses in ethics, cultural diversity, traffic stops, investigations and interrogations and sex crimes investigations.

Prior to serving the citizens of Pittsburgh, Commander Scirotto served as an officer in the Monessen, Rostraver and Donora police departments. He has a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Ashworth College and is working on a Master of Public Police degree from The Pennsylvania State University.

His law enforcement education includes the Northwestern University School of Police Staff & Command, The Penn State University Police Executive Development course and the Command Institute for Police Executives.

"The City of Pittsburgh and the Bureau of Police are expecting much from these three highly qualified individuals in building bonds within the communities we serve; living and demonstrating a daily commitment to community policing and serving as examples of Accountability, Integrity and Respect," says Chief McLay.


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