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Alfer steps down to take new role at South Allegheny
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko (right) and members of city council thanked outgoing police Chief Adam Alfer (left) at the September council meeting. Alfer has retired from the city after nearly 27 years to become the police chief of South Allegheny School District. (Tube City Almanac photo)
City officials have bade farewell to Adam Alfer, who retired Sept. 22 as McKeesport’s police chief after a career that spanned nearly three decades.
Alfer has been named the police chief for South Allegheny School District. The district, which has four school buildings, currently has two security guards, but Alfer is its first sworn police officer.
He was hired by the school board in July after being recommended by a six-person search committee.
“I don’t want a break,” Alfer said before his last day with the city. “I want to go right into it. I’m very excited to have this new opportunity. But on the other hand, it’s a bittersweet moment, because I love the city of McKeesport. I was born and raised here and I’ve been working here since I was 19 years old. It’s going to be hard to walk away from.”
A graduate of McKeesport schools and the Allegheny County police academy, he joined the McKeesport police department in 1997 as a patrol officer and rose through the ranks, heading the city’s juvenile investigations bureau before being named assistant chief, and then, in 2019, chief of police.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko credited Alfer with leading the department through several stressful periods, including the COVID-19 pandemic and, in February, the murder of police Officer Sean Sluganski and the wounding of police Officer Chuck Thomas as they responded to a domestic incident in Grandview.
Alfer “guided this police department through very trying times,” Cherepko said at the September city council meeting, Alfer’s final one as chief. “You did so when it was most difficult to do so ... Your character and your leadership were second to none especially with what we experienced last February.
“I wish you nothing but the best, and to be able to step into another role over at South Allegheny — they’re getting the best of the best,” he said. “You’ll be a wonderful asset to them.”
A parent, Alfer has long been interested in working with youth, having served as a baseball coach for six years and as a wrestling coach for McKeesport Area High School for 23 years.
“It’s been a passion of mine since I was in my late teens and early twenties,” he said. “It’s been a passion just helping these kids.”
Alfer said he intends to remain in the city and continue coaching.
At South Allegheny, Alfer will be tasked with evaluating the district’s security needs and then discussing future development with the school board and administrators.
“That’s definitely going to be a discussion we have, once we get together and assess the situation,” he said. “Everyone over there in the South Allegheny School District’s been great so far, and I’m looking forward to working with them. The pace is going to be a little bit slower, probably, but I’m really looking forward to it. I kind of can’t wait.”
Jason Togyer is volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. and editor of Tube City Almanac.
Originally published October 03, 2023.