Last month, when two Philadelphia police officers were arrested for allegedly ripping off drug dealers, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said, “It could get worse before it gets better,” says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Ramsey knew the FBI was investigating a police inspector who had ambitions of one day replacing him as commissioner. On Friday, FBI agents arrested the inspector, Daniel Castro, a 25-year veteran and one of the highest-ranking officers on the force.
Indicted in an extortion scheme that portrays him more like a gangster, Castro became the 15th member of the police department to be arrested since March 2009. Six of the officers were taken down in three drug investigations, four were charged with sex crimes, and two faced murder charges after off-duty shootings. The sheer number of arrests has left the department’s leaders embarrassed, and focused their attention on the city’s police culture, particularly a code of silence whereby many honest officers – the great majority of the force – feel unable to turn in those who betray the badge. On Friday, Ramsey held a citywide conference call with his commanders to discuss Castro’s arrest. He sent out a four-page message that afternoon to be read at roll calls for the next four days. His message to the troops: This has to stop.