The senseless murder of Philadelphia police officer Chuck Cassidy – along with two other recent shootings of officers – demonstrates just how devastating gun violence in this city has become, says the PHiladelphia Inquirer. The Cassidy case calls into question where this city is headed when it comes to law enforcement, editorializes the newspaper. Last year’s total of 406 murders may be exceeded. The number screams for change, change that will begin with Tuesday’s mayoral election.
Former City Councilman Michael Nutter, who is expected to win easily, needs a top cop who can deliver immediate results, says the Inquirer. “The fire that took [Commissioner Sylvester Johnson} him to the top ranks of the Police Department has been missing for a long time. He’s ready for retirement. Of late, Johnson has talked more about what the police can’t do than what is achievable.” Former Philadelphia Commissioner John Timoney implemented computerized crime-tracking methods that enabled Philadelphia police to pinpoint where the problem spots were in order to beef up patrols, and crime dropped. Nutter “would do well to land someone with Timoney-like qualities,” says the Inquirer. He has already signaled his willingness to be more aggressive by proposing a risky “stop-and-frisk” program to get illegal weapons off the street. The next commissioner must be someone who can figure out quickly what works and what won’t because the city is running out of time.