Carnegie Mellon University

Program for Deliberative Democracy

Department of Philosophy

Selection of a new Police Chief

Throughout the summer of 2014, six public forums provided the citizens of Pittsburgh with an opportunity to participate in the process of selecting a new Chief of Police. During these forums, residents from each of Pittsburgh’s six policing zones shared their ideas about how to improve policing in Pittsburgh, identified their priorities, and discussed the qualities they believe are essential in the new Chief of Police. 

As stated in the City of Pittsburgh’s official announcement, “Feedback on the community sessions on the police chief search was facilitated by Carnegie Mellon University’s Deliberative Democracy initiative, and forwarded to a screening committee of law enforcement and community experts organized by Talent City, the group formed by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics to bring public-private hiring practices into Pittsburgh city government.” 

The attached report provides a general introduction to the principles and the key elements of deliberative forums, followed by a description of the specific process employed for the deliberative forums on selecting a new Chief of Police. The report then presents cumulative results from all of the participants’ exit surveys, selected comments from these surveys, discussion of the questions participants posed to a resource panel at the forums, and discussion of information gathered from the moderator’s who facilitated the forum’s small-group discussions. 

Information about the forums was publicized through newspapers, flyers, and social media resources. Relevant city resources as well as the Presidents of the Public Safety Councils engaged in outreach activities. All residents who attended a forum were able to participate. The participants formed a ‘convenience sample’ that was diverse and not driven by any particular special interest group. Two hundred and forty residents completed exit surveys during the six forums.