Police Officers to Residents: 'We're Asking You to Trust Us Again'

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh police on Thursday asked that city residents give three recently promoted officers a chance.

"I'm particularly asking women to look at what we've done in the past," Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson said at a late afternoon news conference. "We've worked for years with women and women's groups to protect women. You've trusted us before. We're asking you to trust us again."

Donaldson said he wanted to allay any public misconception that the police have been negligent by promoting three officers with allegations of domestic disturbances or violence in their pasts.

Chief Nate Harper considered the domestic incidents, as well as the officers' integrity and professional performance, when he chose to promote them, Donaldson said.

"We feel we made the right decision," he said of the promotions of Cmdr. George Trosky, Lt. Charles Rodriguez and Sgt. Eugene Hlavac.

James Malloy, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, asked that people treat the officers fairly.

"It isn't like they're mashers, beating somebody's brains in," he said. "They're conscientious. They have good records. We have no issue whatsoever with this. They're not going to be brain surgeons."

Trosky was demoted in 1997 after allegedly head-butting his wife. Rodriguez was charged in April with simple assault for striking his daughter. City police responded to Hlavac's home in March after reports of screaming there, Donaldson said.

"We don't condone misbehavior," Donaldson said after the briefing. "We punished Commander Trosky even though the charges were eventually dropped. I am confident Lt. Rodriguez will be cleared. And Sgt. Hlavac's incident was nothing more than an argument. They're human. People make mistakes. That doesn't mean their careers should be over."

Ingram police charged Rodriguez with simple assault April 29 for slapping his daughter. …