Philadelphia Beefing Up 911 Service for Pope’s Visit

Philadelphia Police Dept. HQ - Roundhouse

Philadelphia Police Department headquarters (aka The Roundhouse) photo by Beyond My Ken, used under a Creative Commons license

About a million people are expected to crowd into the city over the weekend for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. His trip culminates with a huge service on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — where about a quarter million will see the pope say mass.

With all these extra people in town, there’s the need for greater emergency services. The police and fire departments have already announced that there will be extra cops, firefighters EMTs and other first responders on call. And the city is beefing up its 911 call center as well.

“The 911 call center can handle most major events,” says Sgt. Gregory Masi of the PPD communications department. “But when we get into an event of this magnitude — that is, the Pope himself — we know there’s going to be an excessive amount of people coming into the city.”

The Philadelphia Police Department mapped out the expected 911 traffic in four-hour blocks, and realized it would need extra operators for the duration of the pope’s visit. So the PPD will be opening up an additional 911 call center, with extra operators, starting Friday. This isn’t about the possibility of a catastrophic event during the pope’s visit, it’s simply to handle the additional volume expected with the city holding hundreds of thousands more people here than it usually does.

The police department will almost be doubling the amount of call center operators on duty during the pope’s visit. Read more »

Officer Killed in Traffic Accident ID’d, Suspect Charged

Officer Lamar Poole Sr., left, and Louis Vogwill, right. Courtesy Philadelphia Police Department.

Officer Lamar Poole Sr., left, and Louis Vogwill, right. Courtesy Philadelphia Police Department.

Lamar Poole Sr., 42, had worked for the Philadelphia Police Department for 18 years, and was most recently assigned to the 12th District. The married father of seven was off-duty on Sunday afternoon, riding his Honda motorcycle in Northeast Philly, when he was hit by a man in a Toyota Corolla. Read more »

Philly Police Solve Mystery of Super Bowl XXXIX

You may have seen all the hullabaloo about the really awful Tom Brady courtroom sketch that emerged from the quarterback’s challenge to his suspension in the “Deflategate” case. But the weird art apparently helped Philadelphia Police solve one mystery — why the Eagles lost Super Bowl XXXIX: Read more »

Study: Philly 2nd Worst Big City for Fatal Police Shootings From 2010-2014

There were more fatal police shootings per capita in Philadelphia than in any big city but Phoenix between 2010 and 2014, a new study by the Better Government Association has found.

Philadelphia registered 3.48 lethal incidents per 100,000 residents over that period. Of the 10 most populous cities in the nation, only Phoenix tallied more, with 3.77. Rounding out the top five was Dallas (2.70), Chicago (2.57) and Houston (2.23).

The report found there were 54 fatal police shootings in Philadelphia during the five-year time period in which the case was studied. Only the Phoenix (57) and Chicago (70) police departments fatally shot more people during the same time span. Remarkably, New York’s Police Department — which serves a population 5.4 times the size of Philly’s — recorded fewer overall fatal shootings (41) than the PPD.

As alarming as those numbers are, there’s some important context to remember: police shootings in Philadelphia dropped a whopping 62 percent between 2012 and 2014, and they’ve fallen further still in 2015.  That might sounds like it contradicts the study’s results, but it actually just serves to highlight how common police shootings were in the city during the earlier years of the study. Read more »

Three Dead in Bustleton Car Crash

Sandmeyer Lane near Red Lion Road, the reported area of the crash. Photo | Google Street View

Sandmeyer Lane near Red Lion Road, the reported area of the crash. Photo | Google Street View

Three young people were killed in a one-car accident overnight in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia.

Two female passengers — a 16-year-old and and a female of unknown age — and a 20-year-old man were reported dead on scene, according to a Philadelphia Police press release on the incident. Read more »

Man Trapped by Freight Train Has Leg Amputated in Rescue

Early this morning, a man was rescued from under a freight train in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia.

The Associated Press reports that emergency medical crews rescued a 46-year-old man by amputating one of his legs after he was pinned between a freight train and tracks around 2:45 a.m. The AP says authorities told them a crew from Einstein Medical Center worked for two hours to help free the man. Read more »

Former Pennsylvania Hospital Nurse Says Cops Falsely Narced on Her

Nurse via

Left: Nurse via; Right: An excerpt from Kyle Welch’s lawsuit.

A former nurse anaesthetist at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and two police officers, claiming that the cops defamed her by making an anonymous call to the hospital to falsely report that she was using drugs. Read more »

Jasmyne Cannick Talks About That Philly Police Beating Video

blogger police video

On Wednesday, Jasmyne Cannick — a noted Los Angeles civil rights activist and media professional — posted a just-released video on her blog of Philly police officers allegedly beating a young African-American man after stopping him for biking the wrong way on a one-way street.

Two-dozen police officers in 11 cars eventually showed up to the scene, beating and using a Taser on the man, a 22-year-old named Tyree Carroll, who could be heard screaming for his grandmother. Carroll is currently in jail without bail on several charges, including drug and assault allegations. (Philly Police released their own account of the incident this afternoon. See below.)

Philly Mag talked to Cannick today to get her take on the video, what happened, why it matters and what her role was in getting the word out. Read more »

WATCH: Philly Police Beat Suspect in Arrest

Philly Police have begun an internal investigation into a YouTube video that shows officers beating a suspect during an April arrest.

The video was released Wednesday by Los Angeles blogger Jasmyne Cannick and quickly drew national attention. It depicts the April 3 arrest of 22-year-old Tyree Carroll, who reportedly was charged with drug and assault offenses stemming from the incident. Read more »

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