Retired Philly Top Cop Consults Chicago

Retired Philly Top Cop Consults Chicago

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, co-chair, the President's Task Force on 21 Century Policing, listens to witnesses at the Newseum in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Retired Philadelphia Top Cop, Charles Ramsey, co-chair, the President’s Task Force on 21 Century Policing on board as consultant  to City of  Chicago

Chicago’s drama center around its police department continues. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that a Chicago native once passed over for top cop will return to help guide civil rights reforms in the Chicago Police Department. 

 Charles Ramsey, is the former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. Prior to assuming that post in January 2008, he had served as Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) from 1998 to early 2007.  However he is  a native of Chicago,  and  Chicago Police Department. He joined the Chicago Police Department as an 18-year-old cadet in 1968. After serving six years as a patrol officer, he was promoted to sergeant in 1977 follow by an appointment to lieutenant in 1984 and became captain in 1988.

He served as Commander of the Narcotics Section from 1989 to 1992 before spending two years as a Deputy Chief of the police force’s Patrol Division. In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Superintendent and served through 1998, the year Mayor Richard M. Daley chose Terry Hillard to serve as his new police superintendent. Ramsey, a finalist, who also had been a contender in 1992, had said he would shake up the department. Hillard offered relative stability for subordinates who revered him.

Later that year, Ramsey assumed charge of the Washington, D.C. police department, where he served until early 2007 before becoming Philadelphia’s police commissioner. He retired from that post on Jan. 7. In January 2015, President Barack Obama tapped Ramsey to help lead the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, a group of leaders who counsel local and state governments on community relations. 

Rahm hopes Ramsey can bring a balance of good policing and compassion to the force.
Rahm hopes Ramsey can bring a balance of good policing and humanity to the force.
Given the state of affairs in Chicago, it makes sense that Ramsey’s experience and familiarity with Chicago, as an architect of the Chicago department’s community policing program, will help serve the needs of the Mayor and the public in restoring faith in the CPD.
He returns to advise city leaders on policies, training and accountability when it comes to the use of force, interactions with people with mental illness and community policing, the city said in a statement Sunday. Ramsey lost bids in 1992 and 1998 to become police superintendent in Chicago
Ramsey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.
He has served as an adjunct professor at Lewis University and Northwestern University.

“Hopefully, we will begin to make progress, make inroads, in many communities where relationships are strained,” said Ramsey, who grew up in Englewood.

The 65-year old Ramsey, said he believes Emanuel and police commanders “have a sense of urgency” about making improvements.

“I wouldn’t be a part of this if I didn’t think their efforts were sincere,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey’s expertise will cost the city  $350 per hour as a consultant according to the  mayor’s office. He plans to begin work Monday, January 25, 2016  participating in a conference call with officials in Chicago. Ramsey currently lives in Philadelphia, will frequently travel to Chicago to work with police officers, community members and the U.S. Justice Department, which announced a review of the department in December in the wake of the release of the Laquan McDonald video.

Mayor Rham Emanuel issued a statement  that said, “Commissioner Ramsey is not only a national leader in urban policing who has led two major police departments through civil rights reforms — he is also a native Chicagoan who knows our Police Department and our communities.  With roots in Englewood, he has a unique understanding of the important role community relationships play in making our city safer.”

Asked if he were interested  in the open Chicago police superintendent job,  Ramsey said he was not, but instead prefers to focus his attention helping police departments work on rebuilding trust with communities. Ramsey  also accepted to  consult in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Justice Department will be reviewing the Police Department’s practices in Chicago, the type of investigation that has led to federal court oversight and sweeping reforms in other troubled big-city police departments throughout the country. Emanuel initially called the idea “misguided,” then reversed his opposition to align with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, both of whom already had called for the Justice Department to act.

As a chief in Washington, D.C., and later Philadelphia, Ramsey requested federal probes of his own police departments while he was at the helm.  This sort of leadership points to his willingness to allow for a non partisan assessment, much needed in Chicago.

The Justice Department will be reviewing the Police Department’s practices in Chicago, the type of investigation that has led to federal court oversight and sweeping reforms in other troubled big-city police departments throughout the country. Emanuel initially called the idea “misguided,” then reversed his opposition to align with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, both of whom already had called for the Justice Department to act.

“We’re going to make sure we enforce the changes that they’ll recommend,” Ramsey said.

Michael Nutter, the former Philadelphia mayor who hired Ramsey as that city’s police commissioner, spoke highly of Ramsey’s ability to establish trust between the Police Department and residents, calling him one of the best police chiefs in the country. He said Ramsey’s call for the Justice Department to investigate the Philadelphia force showed his willingness to address issues of concern for residents by obtaining an outside view of officers’ behavior.

“He’s demonstrated time and time and time again that he would not accept corruption or misconduct by officers,” said Nutter, who left office on Jan. 4 after serving the maximum permitted two terms as Philadelphia mayor. “… I think he established a level of trust with the city when if a bad thing happened, people knew there would be a full-fledged investigation, and it would be legitimate and it would be thorough, and at the end we’d let the chips fall where they may.”

Understanding the people and the community you serve is key. As Philadelphia commissioner, Ramsey, who also has a son on the Philly police force, hosted a podcast from his neighborhood barbershop as another way to help open up and establish  dialogue with community members.

I’d talk to people there because the barbershop,  in the African-American community, tends to be a place where men gather and talk about issues,” Ramsey said. “People aren’t shy about their opinions.”

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