Bisignani Hired as Dormont Police Chief

Dormont Sgt. Michael Bisignani will be sworn in as chief on March 3.

Dormont is saying goodbye to one police chief, but will welcome a familiar face to the position. 

Dormont Council on Monday hired current Dormont police Sgt. Michael Bisignani to fill the position of chief, at a salary of $90,492.42.

The position is currently held by police Chief Phil Ross, who has served in the Dormont police department for 29 years and plans to retire on March 3. Bisignani will be sworn in as chief that day.

Bisignani said his experience serving as a Dormont police sergeant will be an advantage to him in his new position.

“Dormont is a unique town,” he said. “We’re considered a suburb, but our population makes us almost like a small city. And we share a border with the City of Pittsburgh. That brings a unique challenge to police work here, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed.”

Council President Bill McCartney said council discussed whether to hire from within the department or advertise the position outside of the community. Ultimately, he said, council decided to interview inside candidates first, and consider outside candidates next, if needed.

“We chose Sgt. Bisignani in what we think was a fair process, and we’re convinced he’s going to do a great job for us,” McCartney said.

Bisignani, 37, graduated from the Allegheny County Police Academy in 1998 and first served as a patrolman in Clairton. He was hired as a patrolman with the Dormont Police Department in 2001.

The Pleasant Hills native now lives in Peters Township, but said he spends more time in Dormont than he does at home.

“I’ve gotten to know the people here and the people have been great,” Bisignani said. “They’ve really accepted me and welcomed me here. I enjoy it here.”

Bisignani plans to be a working chief. He’ll be switching to the day shift—he’s worked a night shift for much of his career in Dormont—and said he plans to continue police foot patrols through the borough.

He said he already contacted the principals in the Keystone Oaks School District, and hopes to organize more joint training with other local police departments, either through the school district or through South Hills Area Council Of Government.

“With recent mass shootings at schools, it’s a concern,” Bisignani said. “I’m hoping to be able to get more joint trainings. That’s definitely a priority. I know it’s a concern of the schools.”

Bisignani said two current police patrolman are being considered for his former position as sergeant, and McCartney said council will interview for those positions on Feb. 23. Council also plans to hire an additional patrolman.

Councilwoman Onnie Costanzo and Mayor Tom Lloyd thanked Ross for his service to the borough.

“I think the chief has done an outstanding job, first as patrolman, then as sergeant,” Lloyd said. “Obviously, when he became chief he had to sit here during some stressful times … we wish him well, and the best as he enters his retirement.”

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Jenny February 09, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Why doesn't he live in Dormont?
Ed M February 09, 2013 at 11:11 PM
I don't believe living in Dormont is a requirement.
Rob February 10, 2013 at 01:20 AM
I really do not care if he lives in Dormont. My concern is that he doesn't seem very qualified for the job. Just look at the resumes of the Chiefs of our neighboring communities. Look at the new Chief in Greentree. Why didn't we at least explore other candidates outside the department? What real training does he have? Neither The Trib article or The PG outlined much formal leadership training. Does he at least have a college degree?
Erin Faulk February 10, 2013 at 03:50 PM
It is not required that the police chief live within the borough. This is common in many boroughs and townships.
Michael February 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Rob, I agree that the requisite level of education and administrative experience has increased in the modern world of professionalized policing. Although, being a walking resume doesn't make someone a good chief. There are many respected police administrators in the area who also obtained their rank without long resumes. They obtained their advanced educations while learning on the job. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to our elected leaders. Sgt. Bisignani must have demonstrated his capabilities through his words and deeds in the past 11 years that he has been with the borough. Typically, when a municipality promotes from within, it simply tends to be the employee who collected the most paychecks. That doesn't appear to be the method of selection in this case. What we don't know is just as important as what we do know. Let's give the new chief a chance before we make any evaluations.


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