Retired Commander Charged with Recording Officers

( – A police commander who is alleged to have covertly recorded conversations of officers by placing body cameras in unmarked police vehicles retired after his machinations were exposed.

Former Zone 2 Commander Matthew Lackner, 50, will face charges related to the unauthorized covert surveillance of officers in his jurisdiction. They include 4 third-degree felonies covering the alleged incidents. Lackner retired shortly after the investigation began.

Investigators suggested Lackner successfully recorded roughly 75 hours, in several incidents, using 11 different police-issued body cameras between September 27 and October 4 of last year.

Lackner had apparently attempted to dissuade an investigation when the cameras were discovered by suggesting his surveillance was related to a federal investigation, and ordered the officers to keep the information secret. Police then conferred with the feds and discovered no such investigation actually existed, suggesting his actions were unauthorized.

Pittsburgh Chief of Police Larry Scirotto called the episode a breach of trust and added that offenders within the police department would be “dealt with immediately.”

It’s unclear if Lackner currently has legal representation. The Tribune-Review attempted to garner a comment by calling a number listed for him in court documents, but no one answered.

No motive has been given for Lackner’s alleged behavior and there’s no trial date set currently. Lackner will have to enter a plea after his arraignment before any date can be set. He may additionally decide to plead guilty and take an agreement to reduce any potential penalties.

Pittsburgh has had a number of policing issues in recent weeks. They’ve recently decreased their overnight staff. There are now less officers on duty between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.; that change took effect on Monday, February 26. The city also issued new guidelines for its 911 calls, only calls regarding emergencies in progress will earn a response from the cops. The new Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) will handle calls that don’t require an officer to show up in person immediately.

Copyright 2024,