Ramsey-Led Policing Commission Makes Recommendations
The presidential task force on 21st century policing led by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has issued its “interim” report. Ramsey will hold a press conference on the findings this morning with Philly media.
In a report released Monday, Obama’s task force on police reform did not embrace proposed policies like requiring police officers to wear body cameras or linking federal funding for local police departments to requirements all of their officers undergo racial bias training.
The 11-person task force, chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a professor of criminology at George Mason University, instead recommended less sweeping changes.
Its “overarching recommendation” was for Obama to create a so-called National Crime and Justice Task Force to suggest more ideas. The report also urged, as civil rights leaders have long demanded, that police departments collect more precise data about the race and other demographic characteristics of people who are stopped and arrested.
One big item, though, is a proposal to have all police shootings independently reviewed. NPR:
The 120-page report also touched on other controversial topics. Among them: recommending that after an officer-involved shooting, independent prosecutors and investigators look into the death, rather than district attorneys and police colleagues who may work alongside the officer.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, co-chairman of the task force, said that recommendation was not intended to be an “indictment of various agencies; it’s just reacting to the perception that’s out there and certainly trying to get around the appearance of impropriety or lack of transparency in these investigations.
Ramsey knows whereof he speaks on that count; his department is embroiled in controversy and protests for its handling of the Brandon Tate-Brown shooting amid calls to make more evidence in the case public. Tate-Brown was shot during a December traffic stop; police say he was going for a gun in the car, but his family has expressed skepticism.
The Washington Post highlights other recommendations in the report.
Included in the report were calls for a renewed focus on and funding for community policing programs, and for residency requirements that would ensure more officers live in the cities that they patrol.
The task force also called for better record keeping about police use of force incidents. Currently there are no reliable statistics about how often police use their weapons and what the circumstances of those cases are.
And the task force also drew more sweeping conclusions, calling for a more broad review of the entire criminal justice system and instructing law enforcement agencies to own up to the role they played in previous injustices.
Philly Police officers must be residents of the city within six months of starting the job, but can move outside the city — if they remain in-state — after five years on the job.
Ramsey’s press conference is at 8:30 a.m. The full report of the commission is below.