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Larry Scirotto nominated to become next Pittsburgh Bureau of Police chief

Larry Scirotto nominated to become next Pittsburgh Bureau of Police chief
Larry Scirotto nominated to become next Pittsburgh Bureau of Police chief 03:16

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey named Larry Scirotto as his nominee to be the next chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

Nearly one year after Scott Schubert announced his retirement from the position, Mayor Gainey nominated Larry Scirotto, who was a career police officer in Pittsburgh, rising through the rank to become assistant chief. Along the way, he served as the Zone 3 commander on the South Side.

"Man, it's good to be home," Scirotto at a press conference on Wednesday morning. "Like they say, there's no place like home, and there's no place like Pittsburgh."   

Mayor Ed Gainey has introduced Larry Scirotto as his nominee to be the next Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Courtesy: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

After retiring from Pittsburgh, Scirotto was named chief of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2021, but his tenure was brief. He was fired after being accused of reverse discrimination and promoting minority officers above white male officers.

Scirotto said he promoted officers on merit and just last month filed a $10 million lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale for defamation and wrongful termination. It's unclear what impact that lawsuit will have on his ability to be chief of Pittsburgh. 

"We will always prioritize diversity but that doesn't mean we will be sacrificing quality candidates in Fort Lauderdale or here," Scirotto said. 

Scirotto was one of three finalists selected by a nationwide search firm. The other finalists were former Pittsburgh Commander and now Frederick, Maryland, Police Chief Jason Lando and Ryan Lee, the former chief of Boise, Idaho, to whom the Gainey administration initially offered the job. KDKA-TV sources say the offer was withdrawn after Pittsburgh City Council members expressed reservations about Lee and his dismissal in Boise after about a dozen officers filed complaints against him.

While saying all three candidates were qualified, Gainey said Scirotto distinguished himself.

"His deep ties to the city, inside knowledge of the bureau and his outside perspective make him the right choice to be chief of police and continue on with our right policing strategy," Gainey said. 

If approved by City Council, Scirotto faces a shortage of police, low morale in the rank and file and a crisis in youth gun violence.

"I've been asked countless times, 'Why come back now when this is the probably most tumultuous time in our profession?' and I say, 'Because what we do matters, who we do it for matters,'" he said. 

Scirotto says he will immediately get to work on a four-point plan: reorganizing and re-evaluating the entire police bureau with an eye toward developing a violence strategy aimed at curbing the epidemic of gun violence, concentrating on the wellness and support of the rank and file, developing police-community partnerships and prioritizing safety and the quality of life for all residents.

He had a message to the men and women of the bureau who will be asked to carry that out.

"To the officers who are listening to this, please know I support you, I respect you and I value what you bring to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police," he said. "I will always work to ensure that your career is safe within the PBP and that you thrive." 

City Council will be getting Scirotto's nomination next Tuesday and will begin its review process. Councilman Bruce Kraus, who worked with Scirotto when he was commander on the South Side, fully endorses the selection and believes council will approve his appointment.

"I think he's the perfect choice for the department at this time," Kraus said. 

He's expected to be approved by the rest of the council.

Mayor Ed Gainey to announce nominee for Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police 01:54
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