Philadelphia Seeks New Chief; “High-Powered Teflon” Guy?


With a surging homicide rate in Philadelphia and increasing anxiety over public safety, the police commissioner will be the next mayor’s biggest appointment, says the Philadelphia Daily News. “This is his most important thing,” said Michael Chitwood Jr., a former Philadelphiua lieutenant who is now police chief of Daytona Beach, Fl. “He needs a high-powered Teflon kind of guy.” Commissioner Sylvester Johnson retires at year’s end. Could it be a local guy like Deputy Commissioners Richard Ross or John Gaittens? Or is an outsider likely – perhaps former Washington, D.C., Police Chief Charles Ramsey, or Providence Chief Dean Esserman, who learned his crime-fighting tricks in New York City?

Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Nutter – expected to win the general election easily – says, “Certainly, we’re doing research just to find out who are some of the people out there who have good reputations in comparable cities or with a track record of having lowered crime.” Creative crime-fighting ideas are a must. He also must have the management skills to handle a 6,500-person department long criticized for a rigid civil-service structure. “Anybody being contemplated for any job like this should be one of the community of police executives that believe they can do something about crime,” said criminologist David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.


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