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McKeesport police Chief Adam Alfer, left, and Mayor Michael Cherepko, at right, pose with newly hired police officers Dylan Culbertson, Rich Dell, Ca’leb Brevard and Dylan Vaniel. (Tube City Almanac photo)
Although many police departments nationwide have reported a shortage of applicants, McKeesport’s police chief said that targeted recruiting has paid off for his agency.
At this month’s meeting, city council approved hiring four additional full-time officers, bringing the department to 44 full-timers and two part-timers. In addition, council approved the promotion of Detective Dan Goughnour to lieutenant. Goughnour heads the department’s juvenile squad, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.
Police Chief Adam Alfer said that recruiters from McKeesport have worked with the Allegheny County and Indiana University of Pennsylvania police academies to identify candidates.
“We have a lot to offer in the city, and it seems like sending recruiters from our department out to speak to the academy classes has been helpful,” Alfer said. “They're young kids, right out of the academy, they’re eager to learn, and they want to start their careers here.”
The new hires mostly replace officers who have retired or left for health reasons. The department is also recovering from the Feb. 2 death of Officer Sean Sluganski, who was killed while attempting to apprehend a suspect.
The McKeesport department’s relationships with other police agencies have been extremely important in the aftermath of Sluganski’s murder, Alfer said.
“We have good working relationships with the surrounding municipalities, as well as the county police, the sheriff, the FBI, the ATF, the attorney general’s office — I don’t want to leave anyone out, they’ve all been incredible,” he said.
McKeesport police had added six new full-time officers since the beginning of 2023.
Community and neighborhood policing remain strong focuses of the city department, said Cherepko, who said all officers are encouraged to get involved in local organizations, such as youth sports leagues and mentoring programs.
“These guys are willing to risk it all, and they’re doing it while being under a magnifying glass,” he said, welcoming the four new hires, and adding, “I know you all will be an asset to the police department.”
Originally published July 11, 2023.