Former Commander Accused of Illegally Recording Officers

( – A former Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police commander Matthew Lackner, 50, is facing charges of interception, disclosure or use of wire, and electronic or oral communications after he allegedly illegally recorded other police officers by using police-issued body-worn cameras.

The investigation began on Oct. 11, 2023, when Allegheny County police received reports of a hidden police-issued body-worn camera found in an unmarked Pittsburgh police car. Investigators then uncovered more hidden recordings of multiple Pittsburgh officers. Lackner was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 16 while the investigation was ongoing.

During the investigation, 14 separate recordings were reviewed by authorities, who determined that “without their knowledge,” multiple Zone 2 police officers were recorded by cameras hidden in unmarked police cars. Lackner also allegedly hid his own body-worn camera, illegally recording his interactions with other officers. A 29-year veteran of the police department, Lackner, who had been the Zone 2 Commander since 2021, retired on Oct. 18.

According to the criminal complaint, between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, Lackner allegedly recorded officers for about 75 hours using 11 police-issued body-worn cameras. Lackner allegedly told the officers on his recordings to never speak of the secret recordings because they were part of a federal investigation into an unnamed person. However, federal authorities had not authorized such an investigation, according to county police. There was no other explanation that was provided for Lackner’s alleged actions.

On Nov. 9, the Pittsburgh Policemen’s Relief and Pension Fund board of managers voted to pay Lackner his annual pension of almost $78,000, which is close to $6,500 per month. The president of the fund’s board of managers, Ed Trapp, said if Lacker is convicted of charges that “fall in the enumerated offenses,” then the board could take action, “but not until then.”

Pittsburgh police Chief Larry Scirotto stated that “anyone that betrays the trust of our organization” is immediately dealt with when asked about Lackner.

Copyright 2024,