The Philadelphia Police Department has begun preparing officers to respond to Mayor Michael Nutter’s promise to step up stop-and-frisk tactics to help rid the streets of illegal weapons, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Department officials insist there is nothing new to stop-and-frisk – the courts have long-established rules that set limits on pat-downs to protect the public from unreasonable searches. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey wants officers to increase the number of legal searches they conduct as part of a strategy of “aggressive but intelligent policing.”
“We’re not asking you to do anything illegal or unconstitutional in any way,” Lt. Francis Healy, a department lawyer, says in a training video shown to patrol officers. “We just want you to do what you’re doing today, but step it up a bit.” He added: “Stop-and-frisk does not, under any circumstances, mean stopping people for no reason, throwing them up against the wall, patting them down, frisking them.” Some 600 field supervisors began attending the two-hour training sessions last week.