DOJ Releases 96-Page Status Report on PPD’s Implementation of Reforms

Department is making progress. Some of the unimplemented recommendations from the federal government, however, require negotiation with the police union.

Philadelphia Police Dept. HQ - Roundhouse

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

The Philadelphia Police Department is at work on implementing 82 of the 91 recommendations made by the Department of Justice earlier this year. They’ve fully implemented 20, partially implemented one and are working on another 60. The other nine are still in the planning stage.

The DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services collaborative reform initiative with the PPD, which dealt with use-of-force rules (both deadly and non-deadly), basic recruit and on-the-job training, and investigations. There were actually 48 recommendations, many of which had several parts. Commissioner Charles Ramsey requested the report after a spike in police-involved shootings in 2013.

“The commendable success of the police department in implementing these recommendations is directly attributable to the outstanding leadership of Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and reflects the commitment of the men and women who serve in the police department,” said COPS office director Ronald Davis. “The efforts in Philadelphia, both in requesting collaborative reform and in implementing the recommendations provided, serve as a national model.”

The 96-page assessment, which comes six months after the initial report, has detailed assessments on each recommendation and how far along it’s been implemented. Some are simple: The police’s use of force with firearms directive, known as Directive 10, had its language changed from “imminent” to “immediate.” The phrase “Excessive force will not be tolerated” was added to another directive. Cops who use an electronic control weapon (such as a taser) now have to fill out a use-of-force report. Police officers are now more restricted as to when they can fire at a moving vehicle. Sleeper holds are now explicitly banned except in exi­gent circumstances when life or grave bodily harm are at risk. The PPD has added a Medal of Tactical De-escalation award.

Partially implemented recommendations include the creation of a Reality-Based Training Unit that can help officers develop de-escalation skills — previously, most recruits said they received only a lecture — and the coming implementation of a permanent office related to of­ficer safety, tactics, and use of force.

Most of the recommendations where no progress has been made are ones that require negotiation with the police union during upcoming contract negotiations.

A full copy of the six-month report is below. The DOJ says it will release a final progress report next year.

DOJ six-month assessment report on PPD

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