Carnegie Mellon University
June 25, 2014

News Brief: Carnegie Mellon's Program for Deliberative Democracy Partners with City of Pittsburgh for New Chief of Police Search

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Program for Deliberative Democracy (PDD) has partnered with the City of Pittsburgh to convene a series of public forums that will provide residents with the opportunity to be involved in the process of selecting a new chief of police.

An initiative of CMU's Center for Ethics and Policy within the Dietrich College's Department of Philosophy, the PDD uses deliberative polling and other forms of democratic deliberation to collect information on what a representative sample of people from a community thinks about an issue once they have had time to become informed about it and discuss it among themselves and with experts. The program has used the method of deliberative democracy techniques on topics ranging from marriage in America and public art to public policy.

The Talent City initiative and the Art of Democracy are also partners in the effort to encourage public participation in search for Pittsburgh's new police chief.

The City of Pittsburgh will conduct the public forums in conjunction with Public Safety Councils in all six of Pittsburgh's policing zones in June and July. By participating in the forum, residents are encouraged to share their ideas about how to improve policing in Pittsburgh, identify their priorities and suggest the qualities they believe are essential in the new chief of police.

The first meeting will take place in Zone 2 at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, June 26 at Teamsters Local 249 (Teamster's Temple), 4701 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

The deliberative forums seek to discover citizens' opinions on key issues affecting their neighborhoods after they have engaged in multiple, informed and structured conversations. Each forum is scheduled to last two-and-a-half hours and is designed to provide citizens with the resources they need to develop an opinion guided by relevant data, expert information and an understanding of how issues and policies affect others in their community.

"From the outset, we have looked to build a new administration with the best talent available to lead our city," said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. "We are pleased with the progress we have made with Talent City and look forward to an unbiased process that will include significant and productive public input as we begin a new chapter with our police force."

PDD Director Robert Cavalier is working to ensure that the events follow deliberative democracy best practices.

Under the Talent City program, launched by the Pittsburgh Foundation in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics, all applicants for the position will be screened by a diverse selection committee and interviews will be conducted by human resources consultants. A slate of three to five candidates will then be provided to the mayor, who may choose a candidate from the provided pool or ask Talent City to find additional candidates.

The chief of police job posting on the Talent City website is scheduled to close on July 31. Talent City's screening committee will review all applications and present a final slate of candidates to the mayor by the end of August.  Interviews will then be conducted with the expectation of concluding the process and selection by fall.

The $275,000 Talent City initiative was designed to provide comprehensive support for the new mayoral administration in assembling an experienced and qualified team who will help lead Pittsburgh into a new era of development. The chief of police search is the final phase for Talent City with over 20 positions in the new administration filled with the assistance of the initiative.

"We are especially excited to help the City of Pittsburgh in this final phase of the Talent City process to join with citizens in selecting Pittsburgh's new police chief," said Molly Beerman, interim CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation. "Talent City is a bold initiative that symbolizes a spirit of civic partnership and cooperation that we believe can develop and prosper under our regional local government leadership."