One of new Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s most significant changes is taking place today, says the Philadelpahia Inquirer. Ramsey ordered his top commanders to begin attending 90-minute meetings each morning to review the previous night’s crime trends. As word spread last week of the meetings, some commanders privately groaned about the new workload. Ramsey said the newly declared “crime emergency” was unlikely to involve any special police powers or suspension of the department’s labor contract with officers, as Ramsey did four times during his nine years in Washington, D.C.
Ramsey identified one of the department’s “biggest problems”: Officers are scattered too thinly in the city’s 23 police districts. “Officers are going all over their districts answering calls for service, not being able to maintain any kind of meaningful sector integrity, which means you need more bodies out there,” he said. He wants more officers to become familiar with their districts, “knowing who are the good folks, knowing the troublemakers, the hot spots in the area, and all those kinds of things.” Ramsey has made several visible symbolic changes that signal a new direction. Ex-Commissioner Sylvester Johnson favored business suits and driving an unmarked car, Ramsey donned a uniform and drives a marked police cruiser prominently labeled “Car 1.” “I like being a policeman. I’m not ashamed of it, don’t hide from it,” he said.