One on one with Commissioner Ramsey
PHILADELPHIA - December 28, 2010 (WPVI) -- 2010 has been a tumultuous year for the Philadelphia Police Department, but, thankfully, a less deadly one. And like everyone else, they've had to do more with less. Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the belt tightening will continue in 2011.
"We have trim where we need to trim; we may have to cut back on some specialized units, keep more people on patrol, I'll do whatever I have to do, it's just the way it is," Ramsey said.
But, with all the cuts, the department has seen a three percent drop in violent crimes, although murders are up slightly.
Commissioner Ramsey credits his officers and the concept of smart policing, using police, city, and academic resources to target hot spots.
But, success has been tainted by corruption.
Three officers were arrested in July for allegedly stealing drugs. Plus, the highest ranking officer yet, Inspector Daniel Castro, was arrested for extortion.
And Ramsey says it's not over.
"There's more corruption that needs to be rooted out, unfortunately, it's not a problem that's going to go away in 2011," Ramsey said.
The department has been fending off charges and lawsuits claiming police brutality.
Two weeks ago Ramsey was on the hot seat in front of City Council. He says the department isn't backing off its stop and frisk policy.
"I thought just listening to people at the hearing let me know we have a lot of communication, a lot of work to do in terms of relationship building with some members of our community," Ramsey said.
As the year ends, the department is under pressure to stop the 'Kensington Strangler' who's killed three women and possibly assaulted three others.
Ramsey says pressure or not, the department works hard to solve all murders for the sake of the victims' families.
The department is employing new high tech crime fighting tools, but will be going low tech in 2011, with the return of the mounted police.
"Yeah, the horses are coming back, because I think mounted patrol is what we need and now that the Phillies have signed Cliff Lee, I think we're going to need them next fall," Ramsey said.
The Commissioner can afford a little light hearted relief as the year ends. After all, it has been, thankfully, the first year since he was hired that we haven't lost an officer in the line of duty. Let's hope 2011 is the same.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, charles ramsey, police, corruption, local/state, david henry
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