Philadelphia To Bar Media From CompStat Sessions


Yesterday’s CompStat session in Philadelphia, when police brass question field commanders about what they are doing to fight crime, was the last such meeting open to the media and visitors who are not in law enforcement, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said the closed sessions would allow police to discuss confidential investigations and intelligence that they could not air with outsiders present. “What we do now is, quite frankly, an academic exercise,” said one official. CompStat was introduced to Philadelphia by former Police Commissioner John Timoney, who brought the system of computerized crime mapping and weekly reviews from New York, where it proved instrumental in reducing crime.

The purpose is to make commanders accountable, sometimes through tough grilling in front of their colleagues. Timoney said yesterday he made CompStat open to the media and certain visitors, such as professors, so people could see the Police Department working effectively. Timoney’s CompStat sessions in Miiami, where he is police chief, are open to the media. New York sessions are closed to reporters. Some critics have called Johnson’s more relaxed Philadelphia version “CompStat Lite.” One former deputy commissioner called it “LoveStat.” The new closed sessions will focus on districts with the worst crime, rather than have a regular rotation of all districts.


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