Plum School District officials selected a longtime McKeesport officer to lead their new district police force.
Captain of Detectives Tim Hanna will take over the department within the next few weeks after formally retiring from a 25-year city law enforcement career.
“I’m leaving my hometown police department to take this position,” he told the school board. “I’m very proud of the career that I’ve had there, and I’m thankful for the training and experience I’ve received over those years that have prepared me for my new position. I will strive to make this department a model for school policing.”
Hanna, 50, of McKeesport began his career with the city police department in 1993. He was promoted from patrolman to patrol sergeant in 1998 and to lieutenant of detectives in 2004. Hanna was named captain of detectives in 2009.
Hanna, a 1986 McKeesport Area High School graduate, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Robert Morris University and received numerous commendations throughout his law enforcement career.
School directors unanimously voted to hire Hanna Sept. 25. His starting salary is $70,000.
“The hiring of Mr. Hanna is momentous for the (district),” said Vicky Roessler, board vice president and safety committee chairperson. “His expertise and professionalism alone will help facilitate a positive culture where safety is truly a No. 1 priority for every student and every employee in this school district. I look forward to watching you build relationships with the students, staff and the community to build a positive learning environment like none other here in the Plum School District.”
Superintendent Brendan Hyland said Hanna was selected out of nearly 30 candidates. The vetting process included input from Plum Police Chief Jeff Armstrong as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Pittsburgh office.
“The interview team included members of the superintendent’s cabinet and multiple law enforcement experts that willingly gave up their time and shared decades of professional experience to assist the district in finding the most qualified candidate,” Hyland said. “The panel unanimously and without hesitation agreed that one candidate was the by far the best person and most qualified individual to lead the Plum school police.”
The board approved establishment of a police force in July with the goal of having at least one armed officer at each school. The police supervisor will be involved in hiring the other officers.
“There’s a lot to be done,” Hanna said. “We need to hire good and capable officers, conduct safety and security surveys of all the buildings in the district and get to know the principals of each building to get their input on any concerns that they may have involving safety and security at their specific building.”
The district has a school resource officer provided by Plum police. That position is expected to remain after the new police force is in place.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.