New leadership assigned to Northwest Philadelphia police districts

Days after the Philadelphia Police Department’s promotions ceremony, command positions in the Northwest Police Division are alight with new faces.

In the 39th District, which includes East Falls, Southwest Germantown and sections of North Philadelphia, Capt. Michael Craighead will take the helm.

Craighead, who comes from the Internal Affairs Bureau, will replace Verdell Johnson, who was promoted from Captain to Inspector and will take over the Southwest Police Division.

14th and 35th Districts and Northwest Division

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Capt. John Fleming will now lead the 14th District, which covers Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and parts of Germantown and West Oak Lane.

Fleming was an administrator in Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s office. He is replacing Joel Dales, who was promoted to Inspector and will head the Standards and Accountability Unit.

Dales’ unit is charged with ensuring that all police personnel are following department procedures.

He told NewsWorks that the transition is “bittersweet.”

“I really enjoyed working in the 14th District,” he said. “I worked with a wonderful community that was caring and engaged. They were always available when I needed them.”

Asked about Fleming, Dales said, “He’s definitely competent. He’s going to be a good captain.”

In the 35th District, which covers sections of Germantown and West Oak Lane, newly-promoted Capt. Joseph Fredericksdorf will fill a vacancy caused by the transfer of Capt. John McCloskey, who was allegedly involved in the quashing of an arrest record.

Despite a public outpouring of support for their captain, and direct appeals to Ramsey, McCloskey is now replaced by Fredericksdorf, who was formerly a lieutenant in the 25th Police District.

Heading the Northwest Division, which includes the 5th, 14th, 35th and 39th districts, will be Inspector James Kelly, formerly captain with Narcotics South. Kelly will replace Inspector Aaron Horne, who was also transferred as a result of the alleged quashed police report.

The bigger picture

These changes are part of a department-wide reorganization.

“We have six divisions in our city, five of the six divisions will be receiving new inspectors, taking command,” said Ramsey on Friday. “We have 21 police districts in the city and seven districts will be getting new captains.”

Ramsey noted that 36 command changes are taking place, which includes replacing four deputy commissioners who are retiring or who have retired but won’t be replaced.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, the local police officers’ union, signaled approval.

“It gives some new opportunities to some new commanders,” McNesby said. “There will be some new thinking in the police department.”

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