5 Things You Need To Know About the Last Mayoral Debate

Jim Kenney supports releasing the names of cops who shoot civilians. Both candidates back schools chief Bill Hite.


Can you believe Election Day is just a week-and-a-half from today? The final debate between Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Kenney and Republican Melissa Murray Bailey was recorded at 6ABC’s headquarters on Friday afternoon. It will air on the station and stream on 6ABC.com at 11 a.m. Sunday. TV reporters Tamala EdwardsIlia Garcia and Jim Gardner were the moderators. Here are five takeaways from the event:

1. Kenney and Bailey disagree on the question of whether the police department should publicly release the names of cops who shoot civilians.

After the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report on the Philadelphia Police Department’s use of deadly force, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced in July that it would begin releasing the names of cops who shoot civilians within 72 hours of the incident. The Fraternal Order of Police immediately came out in opposition to the new policy.

Kenney said during the debate that he supports releasing officers’ names within the 72-hour period. He said he respects the FOP, but that “people need to know what happened.” The FOP has endorsed Kenney for mayor.

Bailey, meanwhile, said, “I don’t support that we just full-throttle release the names.” She called for a “balance” between the need to inform the public and protect police officers’ lives, and said she supported “body cameras for all of our officers, so there is no question about what happened.”

2. Kenney and Bailey are both big fans of Superintendent Bill Hite.

Hite’s contract is up in 2017. The candidates were asked if he should stay or go.

Both candidates praised Hite effusively. “I think Dr. Hite has a great plan,” said Bailey, adding, “I don’t think we’ve given him the resources to [implement it].” Bailey Hite should stay if he is provided with those needed resources.

Kenney said, “I think he’s doing a great job … I would love to have him stay as long as he likes.”

3. Kenney and Bailey see the impact of stop-and-frisk differently.

Bailey said during the debate that she wanted to reform the use of “stop-and-frisk” by police. But she also said that crime went up recently in New York City after Mayor Bill De Blasio curtailed the practice. Kenney, who wants to eliminate stop-and-frisk “without reasonable suspicion,” said he did not believe that a spike in homicides and shootings in NYC had anything to do with stop-and-frisk. “There are many factors that create different waves in crime,” he said.

4. Neither candidate would say who they’d appoint to replace outgoing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The candidates were asked if they would appoint First Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross, Jr. to be the city’s next police commissioner.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that at this point,” said Bailey, adding that Ross has “done some great things” and that it is important to look within the police department for Ramsey’s replacement.

Kenney said, “I’m not going to comment on that, at least until I’m elected.” He said, however, that he “will not be looking outside the department” for a new commissioner.

The truth is, the next commissioner is probably gonna be Ross.

5. Bailey didn’t use the bully pulpit to aggressively attack Kenney during the debate.

Sure, the two candidates disagreed on some issues, such as “sanctuary cities” (Kenney’s all for them; Bailey’s not) as well as the police department’s policy of naming officers who are involved in shootings. But if you were hoping for a knock-out punch from Bailey, it didn’t happen.

Asked after the debate if she felt she took Kenney to task Friday, she said, “Not as much as I could have. There’s so much opportunity to do that because of where the city is and what he has done or hasn’t done in his time in the city. Also, in some of the ideas that are blatantly not going to work. But I have to balance being able to let the people get to know me and know my experience, and making sure people know that the promises being made are actually not promises that can be held true.”