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Retired Officer Therese Rocco Says Those In Need Can Still Knock On Her Door

Therese Rocco joined the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in 1948 as a temporary replacement in the missing persons office. In post-war Pittsburgh, she says, most male officers believed women couldn't handle police work, let alone carrying a weapon. 

"Men did not feel that they should be involved in such an insignificant problem," she says. "So the women were assigned to the missing persons."

During her 40-year career, Rocco acted as a decoy in sting operations, investigated and solved missing persons cases and eventually rose to become the city's first female assistant police chief -- all while, for many years, getting paid far less than the men ranked beneath her.

Still, she says, police work is worth it. Especially for young women just entering the bureau today.

“You’re going to love it,” she says. “No matter where you begin, no matter what you do, it’s a learning process."

Rocco recalled her storied career in a new memoir, “Therese Rocco: Pittsburgh’s First Female Assistant Police Chief,” and joined The Confluence to talk about her experiences. A documentary about Rocco also premieres March 7at the Heinz History Center. An abridged version of the piece airs at 10 p.m. April 20 on WQED. 

PCMA takes place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this week, January 6-9, 2019.

Later in the program, over 3,900 business event professionals are in Pittsburgh this week for the Professional Convention Management Association Conference (PCMA) at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, says its a conference for conference planners -- the people who ultimately decide where organizations host their get-togethers.

“We know instinctively that they will fall in love with the city," Davis says, "because they don’t know what to expect.”

And as the government shutdown enters its 19th day, 12,000 workers in Pennsylvania are furloughed or without pay. The shutdown, already the second longest in U.S. history, is beginning to delay and derail several sectors, including civil courts, farming, unemployment compensation, SNAP benefits, public safety, taxes and more. WESA reporter An-Li Herring and Jamie Martines of the Tribune-Review explain what could be next for the Pittsburgh region if the stalemate continues.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at jzenkevich@wesa.fm.
Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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