Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross in his first year has carried forward many of the crime-fighting strategies used under predecessor Charles Ramsey. The city’s 2016 murder total was nearly identical to that of 2015, the number of officer-involved shootings was exactly the same, and overall violent crime was down about 5 percent, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. according to police statistics. The department was widely praised for its restraint during the Democratic National Convention, when it handed out 106 citations and did not file criminal charges against any protesters.
Ross tells the Inquirer he has intentionally sought to project stability since he took over last January. As Ramsey’s top deputy for eight years, he was given a hand in developing many of the tactics and strategies the department uses. Why shake things up simply because he was promoted? “I didn’t and don’t feel the need to act like, ‘Let’s throw up something brand-new, let’s tear down everything that [Ramsey] did,’ because I was such a big part of that,” said Ross, 52. Some potential tweaks for 2017 include adding staff members to the homicide unit; implementing a body-camera program in two of the city’s busiest districts; beefing up community relations programs, particularly those aimed at youths; and developing a new unit for investigating police-involved shootings.