Nutter Orders Creation of Police Oversight Board

Mayor Michael Nutter today ordered the creation of a new independent oversight board to monitor the Philadelphia Police Department as it implements reforms recommended in this week’s report from the Department of Justice.

“It is clear changes need to be made with the use of force, the use of lethal force, all across our city,” Nutter said. “It is an important report, it is a good report on the things we need to do, the things we need to change.”  Read more »

Union: Three Sticking Points in Inquirer/Newspaper Guild Negotiations

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

The company that owns Philly’s biggest daily newspapers is seeking a mediator to help resolve contract negotiations with the union that represents most of its journalists.

Howard Gensler and Bill Ross, president and executive director of the Newspaper Guild, said in a Tuesday memorandum to their constituents that negotiations with Interstate General Media — the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com — were foundering over several issues: Read more »

Embattled State Police Nominee Gets Racist Letter

Gov. Tom Wolf’s embattled pick to lead the Pennsylvania State Police received a “racially charged” letter this week.

The Morning Call reports:

The handwritten loose-leaf letter saying “No [racial epithet] lover will wear my uniform” was placed overnight Monday in Marcus Brown’s mailbox outside his home in Hampden Township, Cumberland County, according to a state police spokeswoman. Brown turned the letter over to Hampden police and the Cumberland County district attorney’s office, she said.

The letter appears to reference statements Brown made when he was Maryland State Police superintendent after the Ferguson, Mo., riots involving a police shooting last summer. During a discussion with other Maryland police officials, Brown was quoted in the media as saying sometimes police tactics can escalate civic unrest.

Read more »

Why Frat Scandals at Penn State and Elsewhere Actually Matter

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It was awful when we discovered that a Penn State fraternity had allegedly been posting pictures of nude, unconscious college women on a secret Facebook page. It became worse when one member offered up an in-all-seriousness “boys will be boys” defense of the monstrous act. But you know what really sucks about the “Facebook frat” scandal?

It’s this: The men of Kappa Delta Rho are, in all likelihood, our future leaders. Read more »

Comcast Adds Bodies to Improve Customer Service

Comcast is going to try to fix its customer-service woes the old-fashioned way: By throwing bodies at it.

The company announced Monday it is tripling the size of its “social care team” — the folks who respond to customer complaints via Facebook and Twitter — and equipping them to help solve problems quickly.

“The social care team has access to all the same advanced tools and training as our call center agents do, which means they can quickly jump in to solve problems,” Tom Karnishak, Comcast’s senior vice president for customer services, said in a blog post. “They also have a direct line to our tech teams so they can schedule appointments.”

Other news outlets said the announcement means the social care staff will increase its numbers from 20 to more than 60. Company officials indicated that a number of those new jobs would be created in Philadelphia as part of the initiative. Read more »

Wolf Holds Firm on State Police Nomination

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Gov. Tom Wolf is holding firm in backing Marcus Brown’s nomination to head the Pennsylvania State Police, despite opposition from Republicans and the troopers themselves.

The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association on Monday gave Brown a vote of no-confidnce, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Wolf gave no signs of budging on the issue.

“Again, as I said over the weekend, I nominated him because of his strong background,” Wolf said. “He was a beat cop in Baltimore, he was head of the state police in Maryland and I think he’s a good choice. He has a great background and I would like to see him confirmed.” Read more »

10 Takeaways From the Department of Justice Report on Philly Police

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

There is an “undercurrent of significant strife” between Philadelphia Police and the community they serve, the U.S. Department of Justice reported today.

The federal review — undertaken by the feds at the invitation of Commissioner Charles Ramsey, after reporting showed that police-involved shootings had risen despite an overall drop in the crime rate — found that police training in using less-than-lethal force was inconsistent and, at times, insufficient, and that a “lack of transparency” about such incidents had helped cement distrust in the community.  Read more »

Fundraising On Schedule for Pope’s Visit

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Organizers have raised $30 million of the $45 million needed to host Pope Francis in September, KYW Radio reports.

KYW talked to Dan Hilferty, co-chairman of the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia. “From my perspective, I’d love to see mid-summer to be able to say, ‘okay, we’re finished the fundraising and we’re ready to go,’” Hilferty told the station. “I think it’s difficult to put a firm time line on that.” Read more »

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