DOJ: Philly Police Make "Significant Progress" on Recommendations

- The Department of Justice is giving Philadelphia Police high marks for improving its handling of cases in which interactions between police and civilians turn violent.

 

That initial report requested by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey after a spike in the number of police-involved shootings.

The Justice Department was critical of Philly Police from soup to nuts: Painting a picture of a department that needed to dramatically re-think how it dealt with potentially violent interactions with suspects and, just plain civilians.

Six  months later...the picture is much brighter.

After reviewing records showing Philly police shoot someone on average, once a week- with one in five of those people unarmed- the DOJ told cops to fix a broken system: issuing 91 recommendations, to improve everything from officer training, to handling of high-pressure interactions to more professionally investigating when things go wrong.

Six months later, the feds say 90 percent of those recommended "fixes" are complete, partly complete or in progress.

Ronald Davis heads the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services-- COPS. 

"I would say their progress is nothing less than amazing."

"They're basically catching up to excellence, and I think if they keep this track, not only will they get it, and surpass it and become a national model for our nation."

Among the changes already in place-- Philly Police now receive training on how to calm down situations that threaten to get out of control.

In fact, the department now gives an award to officers who successfully de-escalate potentially violent incidents.

"The reality based training- putting officers into scenarios where they're forced to make judgements and then be critiqued on it, I think has made a difference."

That may explain why the number of incidents in which city police shoot at suspects or civilians, is down 46-percent from 2013.

But Mayor Nutter notes that bad guys continue to shoot AT police.

He referenced Commissioner Ramsey while pleading for a change in attitude on all sides...

"As both of us have said, many, many times, there must be an end to the 'us versus them' mentality in policing in our city and across the nation."

The full report can be read here.  

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