Department History

The Port Authority Police Department has its origins in the year of 1968 when the Port Authority contracted with the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office to provide for patrols along the bus and rail routes and to respond to criminal activity that occurred on the buses and streetcars. Also in or about that time, Rege Kelly, a retired Pittsburgh Police Officer was hired to investigate internal security problems that occurred in the Port Authority and to coordinate with the local Police and Sheriffs Office when criminal activity was reported. Rege Kelly would later go on to become the Port Authority's first Chief of Police.

In 1979, Richard Ehland was hired and in 1980 became the second Chief of the department. During Chief Ehland's tenure, the police department grew from 2 officers to 15, with them operating in 5 marked cars. In the early to mid 80's, the Port Authority opened the south and east bus ways and opened the downtown subway in 1985. In 1982, the Port Authority had legislation amended in Harrisburg to allow them to start a Transit Police Department similar to the one that is in operation in Philadelphia (S.E.P.T.A.). Act 33 authorizes transportation authorities in the Commonwealth to organize police departments under the Railroad and Street Railway Police Act. The jurisdiction of these officers is to be on the property, adjunct to the property or throughout the Commonwealth while conducting transportation system business. Because of the many jurisdictions that these officers would come into contact within and outside of Allegheny County, they would be commissioned by the Governor.

In 1993, the Port Authority hired its third Chief William T. McArdle. Prior to coming to the Port Authority, McArdle had been a special agent with the F.B.I., retiring with 24 years of service. In 1997, the Sheriff's Deputies, because of the increased workload in their office and the many task forces that Sheriff Defazio had them operating on, left the detail. On Chief McArdle's watch, the department has grown to officers operating in 16 marked cars, 4 unmarked cars and 2 wagons. Within his tenure he has also been instrumental in the development of several specialized units within the department which have allowed the organization to become more efficient as well as knowledgeable in specific aspects of policing. Included within these specialized units is a Plainclothes/Detective Unit, Traffic Investigations Unit, K9 unit and Digital Forensics Division. Also during, Chief McArdle's watch, there has been a strong push towards education. Over half of the department has a college background and many officers regularly attend several of the local colleges and universities. Officers are also encouraged to attend police in-service classes here in Allegheny County as well as classes throughout the country that offer a course that can be utilized the department.

The current Chief, Steven McCauley rose through the ranks to take command of the department. He continues to move the department forward as the department and the Port Authority continues to grow with projects as the North Shore Rail Extension.

The Port Authority Police Station is located at 1500 Martin Luther King, Jr., East Bus way (Downtown, Pittsburgh) and is the control center for all law enforcement activities affecting Port Authority operations. It has the primary responsibility for policing the bus and light rail system.

Valid CSS!