CCAC Alumnus Dedicates Life to Serve Community, Region
Like many of his fellow alumni, Charles Moffatt, Superintendent of the Allegheny County Police, has a very unique story.
Charlie was raised in the Terrace Village neighborhood of Pittsburgh's Hill District and lost his father at a very young age. He and his brother and sister were raised by their mother, who Charlie said was very close to her children. "She did everything she could to provide for us," he says. "We never knew we were poor."
While attending school at Central Catholic and then at Schenley, Charlie worked a variety of jobs to help support his family. His first job was setting pins at a bowling alley on Craig Street in Oakland. He also worked as a bus boy at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, a stock boy and an usher at a theatre. At age 17, he dropped out of school and began working at a printing company for $1 per hour.
Shortly thereafter, he joined the Air Force and completed his General Educational Development diploma (GED). Throughout his eight years in the Air Force, Charlie says his brother continuously encouraged him to take the City of Pittsburgh's Civil Service Police Officer exam. While on leave, Charlie returned to Pittsburgh, followed his brother's advice and passed the Civil Service exam. In 1967, he reported for training at the Pittsburgh Police Academy.
Charlie’s first assignment as a Pittsburgh Police officer was at the Zone 2 station in the Hill District. In 1970, he was promoted to detective and worked in organized crime in the narcotics and vice division. A year later, Charlie took advantage of available G.I. Bill money and scholarships provided to police officers for education and enrolled in the administration of criminal justice program at CCAC’s Boyce Campus. “CCAC was so accessible,” he says. “Not only did the college help me further my education, but it helped me with the job. While I continued to work full-time, I also had to put the time in to study.”
Charlie says he met a lot of wonderful people at Boyce, including Professor Pat Moore, who had taught him at the Pittsburgh Police Academy. During the 1970s, more than 600 students received administration of criminal justice degrees from Boyce Campus and many of those alumni continue to be employed in the field today. Charlie received his associate’s degree in 1976 and continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he received a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice. While he was taking classes, Charlie transferred to the homicide division in 1974.
Charlie also graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. When given the opportunity, Charlie took the Civil Service Promotion Exam, ranked third on the list and was promoted to lieutenant. As a lieutenant, he was in charge of running the police academy. Charlie was then promoted to Police Commander of the Zone 2 station in the Hill District and eventually transferred to serve as Commander of the Zone 5 station in East Liberty.
In 1992, Charlie was named Assistant Chief of Police in charge of all uniformed officers. Four years later, he was promoted to the newly created position of Deputy Chief of Police for the city of Pittsburgh. In 2003, Charlie served as Acting Chief of Police for four-and-a-half months while then Police Chief Robert McNeilly Jr. was on active duty with the US Coast Guard.
On January 15, 2004, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato announced the appointment of Charlie as Superintendent of the Allegheny County Police Department. After 36 years with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Charlie began his new position on February 17. The Allegheny County Police Department, which was established in 1932, is comprised of more than 250 officers and 50 civilians who patrol the regional parks, Pittsburgh International Airport and the Allegheny County Airport.
Charlie says the County Police includes 119 municipalities who look to the County and also to the city of Pittsburgh for advice on policies. The County Police investigate major crimes within the county and provide a SWAT team and bomb disposal unit to any municipality within the county that requests assistance. According to Charlie, the toughest task he faces is assigning police. “There is not a policeman on every block, nor could there be,” he says. “Police work is constantly changing. We have to look for the best practices.” One of the practices currently in discussion is the possible merger of city and county services. “A merger would benefit the citizens as well as the employees,” Charlie says. “There are already very good working relationships between the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.”
Charlie has no plans of retiring any time soon. “I love the job and enjoy going to work,” he says. “There’s such camaraderie among the officers. I am committed to the job, the county and the city of Pittsburgh. I have always been a city resident.”
In his spare time, Charlie enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his wife, Regina, three children and three grandchildren. He is anxiously waiting for his daughter Bridget, also a CCAC graduate, to give birth to twins. Charlie is a longtime season ticket holder for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also enjoys the Pittsburgh Penguins—two teams who made 2009 an exciting year for Pittsburgh sports fans.
In between working, spending time with his family and enjoying sports, Charlie serves on The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law Advisory Board and also works on a state commission that studies wrongful convictions. He is currently working with a committee to review the criminal justice program coursework at CCAC and is also participating on a committee led by CCAC President Dr. Alex Johnson to assess the security levels at the college. CCAC was recently awarded a $252,727 grant from the US Department of Education to develop and implement a fully-integrated, campus-based, all-hazards emergency management plan to serve its four campuses and six educational centers throughout Allegheny and surrounding counties.
Since 1967, Charles Moffatt has dedicated himself to serve the Pittsburgh Police Bureau and Allegheny County. He is the first person in the city to hold seven ranks, including the first to be named Deputy Chief of Police. He encourages current CCAC students to look at the successes of their peers and alumni of the college. "Students need to know what direction they're going in and take it very seriously," he says. "They can't stop after an associate's degree. It's better to go on."
Charles W. Moffatt