SIGNING OFF The Mt. Lebanon Police Department said goodbye to a combined total of almost 65 years of experience at a retirement ceremony honoring three officers. Deputy Police Chief Paul Petras, a former Army Special Forces captain and FBI National Academy graduate, served on the district attorney’s Narcotics Enforcement Team, was a team commander for the South Hills Area Council of Governments’ (SHACOG) Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) and was the department’s Officer of the Year in 2013. Lt. Joshua Chops was a CIRT sniper team leader and the department’s rangemaster. He worked as a detective for 10 of his 20 years’ service and was the department’s Officer of the Year in 2017. Cpl. Jeff Kite was a member of SHACOG’s Special Response Team and a recipient of the department’s Medal of Bravery and the Sen. John Heinz In the Line of Fire award. His work in securing the department’s accreditation from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association earned him the Officer of the Year award in 2022.
NEW MLPD DEPUTY CHIEF Daniel Cuiffi is the Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s new deputy chief for support services.
Cuiffi has an extensive law enforcement background, serving 24 years with the Wilkinsburg Police Department, 17 of which were in supervisory positions, before taking a position as a criminal investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
As deputy chief, support services, Cuiffi is responsible for guiding the department’s public information activities, liaising with community organizations and other stakeholders, overseeing administrative tasks relating to records management, budgeting and payroll, information technology, vehicle fleet management and equipment purchases.
“I have been in law enforcement for almost 30 years,” Cuiffi said. “During that time, Mt. Lebanon has always been known throughout Allegheny County as one of the more progressive and professional police departments. I am privileged to have been selected to serve this community alongside a well-respected group of officers.”
GET IT CHECKED Before you light up your fireplace for the first time this season, be sure to have it inspected.
Did you know that the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department does this for free?
A trained member of the fire department staff will come to your home and make sure that your equipment is safe. If they find an issue, they will recommend a visit from a certified chimney professional.
Other things to remember: Always make sure the damper is open, only burn clean, seasoned hardwood and maintain three feet of clearance in front of your fireplace.
Book an inspection here.
‘TIS THE SEASON for holiday related fires. First comes Thanksgiving, a prime time for cooking fires. Always be present when you’re cooking something on the stove and when it comes to the big bird, if you plan to deep fry it, make sure the oil level isn’t too high and keep the fryer far away from your home.
Shop ‘til you drop Of course, another holiday of sorts, specifically geared toward shoppers, is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
Mt. Lebanon police are reminding you to have patience. The roads will be more crowded as we head toward December and the festive season.
When you head to the mall or even the neighborhood grocery store, keep an eye on your purse and don’t leave your bags in a place where they can be snatched away from you.
PRESENT SAFETY We know that the holiday season is filled with neighborly love, but there are a few people that you want to keep off of your porch. Package thieves tend to show their presence this time of year. So, be sure that you don’t leave those piles of Amazon boxes on your porch for long periods of time. If you’re headed out of town, ask a friend to take them in.
DON’T BURN DOWN THE HOUSE If you’re starting to deck the halls, be sure to keep the garland away from the wick. We’re talking about candles. Traditional candles should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including tinsel, branches and holiday trees. The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department recommends you use flameless candles, to diminish the risk.
BUNDLE UP THE RIGHT WAY Mom always said “Don’t forget a jacket!” But for your car seat-aged kids, make sure their jackets aren’t too puffy. Mt. Lebanon police want to remind you that fluffy jackets can change the fit of the safety harness making it less safe for your youngster in their seat. Car seat safety checks are provided for free by the community outreach unit by calling 412-343-4068.
IT’S TIME TO FALL BACK Daylight savings time ends on November 5 and that means it’s going to be getting dark earlier. If you’re headed out, be sure to pay attention to your surroundings as the light begins to dim. The Mt. Lebanon Police Department recommends wearing bright colors if you plan on walking after dark. For runners, it’s even a good idea to wear a reflective vest or headlamp to keep you visible.