Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey went to the James Logan Elementary School in Northwest Philadelphia on Wednesday to provide students with what he termed “the key to success.”
While a department media advisory said the event would be open for press coverage, school officials stopped reporters outside the Lindley Avenue front door. Citing a lack of parental consent and privacy issues, the school blocked the media from entry.
Before going inside, Ramsey briefed reporters huddled beside the school’s black iron fence. He explained that he would describe policing to students, respond to any questions that they might have and remind them that staying in school and completing their education was that “key to success.”
From the source
After speaking with fifth and sixth graders for approximately an hour, Ramsey said students asked numerous questions, including what it was like to be a police officer and how to prepare for law-enforcement careers.
A yfrog video posted by the Philadelphia Police Department during the Commissioner’s address shows Ramsey answering what he likes about being commissioner.
“Just being here, and being a part of this city and this department is what I like,” he said.
Echoing his earlier statements, Ramsey said he emphasized the importance of education to the students, noting that “no matter what you choose to do in life, it starts with a solid education.”
When asked how he chose policing, he said that he didn’t grow up thinking he would become a police officer.
Instead, he enrolled in college as a pre-med student and “accidentally become a cop.”
“But,” he noted, “I love it.”
Two questions from NewsWorks
After the assembly, Ramsey fielded a pair of questions from NewsWorks.
Ramsey discussed the not-guilty verdict in former police Lt. Jonathan Josey’s case on Tuesday.
“What happens in court is separate from my actions,” he said. “I have no intention of bringing Josey back, but there is a process that he can appeal that decision and obviously, through arbitration, he might be successful.
“But I’ve been asked whether I would voluntarily do it or not, and when I terminated his employment, it was prior to charges being in place. I thought the use of force was excessive, uncalled-for, and I still feel that way. We’ll see what the outcome is ultimately when that decision is appealed through arbitration.”
He also addressed issues with the department’s foot-pursuit policy (or lack thereof):
“We’re in a process of becoming accredited here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and there are certain policies that you have to have in place, and we did not have a foot-pursuit policy,” he said. “Most departments now have one.”
It is “a reminder to officers how to safely conduct a foot pursuit, knowing their location, making sure they have a radio, giving frequent updates for responding units to know where they are, don’t go running into a building by yourself without proper cover and protection, and that sort of thing.
“It’s as much about reminding them about their training as it is anything else, and the fact that you need some reasonable suspicion to engage in a foot pursuit, which is the legal aspect to it. It’s not discouraging it at all; we actually encourage it, but we want people to be safe when doing so.”