Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has been selected to co-chair a national task force aimed at strengthening the bonds between cops and the communities they swear to protect.
The Task Force on 21st Century Policing is expected to come up with recommendations for police departments around the country to improve their relationships with residents. President Barack Obama announced Ramsey’s appointment in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, who was not charged in the slaying.
“I think the time is right,” said Ramsey. “I think with everything going on right now, it has the attention of the community, the attention of police, the attention of elected officials, media. Everyone who needs to be focused on this is focused on it.”
Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University professor and a former assistant U.S. attorney general, was tapped to serve on the task force along with Ramsey.
In Philadelphia, a pilot program to equip a small number of police officers with body cameras is already under way, Ramsey said.
“It’s going to go a long way toward making sure that we have an accurate record of what takes place whenever officers do have encounters out there in the field,” he said. “It’s a protection for the officers. It’s a protection for the community.”
Ramsey hopes to eventually supply 3,500 city cops with body cameras.