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Sources: Pittsburgh offers police chief job to former embattled Boise Chief Ryan Lee

Sources: Pittsburgh offers police chief job to former embattled Boise Chief Ryan Lee
Sources: Pittsburgh offers police chief job to former embattled Boise Chief Ryan Lee 03:19

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh's search for a new police chief may be close to an end, but not everyone is happy with the apparent choice.  

Sources tell KDKA-TV that Mayor Ed Gainey is offering the job to an out-of-state candidate, and the council president and others are already raising concerns about his past.

The mayor's office isn't commenting but KDKA-TV confirmed the job has been offered to Ryan Lee, the former embattled police chief of Boise, Idaho, over two former ranking Pittsburgh police officers.

Almost a full year after former Chief Scott Schubert announced his departure, sources confirm the city has offered the job to Ryan Lee, the former chief in Boise who was forced to resign last year after a series of complaints, including an allegation he fractured the neck of an officer during an impromptu training exercise. 

The choice immediately raised concerns in Pittsburgh. Council President Theresa Kail-Smith said council will conduct an investigation of Lee and may order the process to be started all over again. 

"If the things that we are hearing are accurate, then I think that City Council, myself included, would like to do an additional search to find someone who is a better fit for Pittsburgh," she said.

Sources say Lee was one of three finalists selected by a search firm and interviewed by a citizen committee and a committee of police union leaders. Also interviewed were former Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando, who is the current chief of Frederick, Maryland, and former Assistant Chief Larry Scirotto, who was recently dismissed as chief of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Lee is a career police officer, who worked 20 years in the Portland, Oregon, police department before being named Boise chief in June of 2020. But Boise's mayor asked him to resign in September after the neck incident and 11 other officers filed complaints against him. Beth Pittinger, the director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, said her board will conduct its own investigation of Lee and the selection process. 

"We do not know enough of the specifics and the credibility of the investigations, but we do know the allegations were very serious," Pittinger said. "The morale in the Boise police department was dampened, it was not very high. A lot of complaints that were registered against this individual were registered by officers against their own chief."

The Gainey administration declined to comment except to say there will be an announcement within two weeks, but Pittinger says they should reconsider their choice, even if it means a longer time without a chief.

"If this individual either declines the offer or the administration reconsiders given what's come to light, then they'll have to start all over again," Pittinger said.

Sources confirm Lee has been offered the job and is expected to be in Pittsburgh within the next two weeks to accept it. He'll need to be approved by City County. 

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