Philly adding 30 cops to busiest district, some still pushing for a split

 (Image courtesy of NBC10)

(Image courtesy of NBC10)

Philadelphia’s busiest police district now has more officers on hand to help keep the streets safe.

The 15th District in Northeast Philadelphia recently added 30 officers to the ranks amid an ongoing push by some neighbors to split the territory in half.

“When you do a workload analysis, there’s just too many calls for the officers to handle what we currently have,” said Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson with Command North. “Putting 30 into a district in one shot is pretty rare, but it was definitely needed.”

In 2013, the 15th District had the most 911 calls in the city. As of July 1, it’s leading the pack again.

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The officers are recent police academy grads who were working in the 25th and 35th police districts.

Those districts will get new officers from the latest class of graduates.

Wilson said some of the additional officers in the 15th  would be specifically assigned to patrol the north end of the district, which typically experiences more property than violent crime.

That’s thrilling news for life-long resident Donny Smith, who leads the Mayfair Civic Association.

“It’s a long-time coming. We’ve needed the extra police personnel in the district for quite a long time and I’m glad to see that they’re finally showing up,” said Smith.

Still, he’s cautiously optimistic about the impact the new officers can have.

“I’m sure they’re going to helpful. But I still feel like splitting the district in half might be a good idea only because it’s still the biggest and busiest district in the city,” he said.

For more than two decades, some neighbors have asked to split the district to ensure officers patrol even the quieter sections.

In addition to Mayfair, the district covers Wissonoming, Tacony, Holmesburg, Bridesburg and Frankford.

Wilson said the department does not plan on a split anytime soon.

“That’s not part of our game plan,” said Wilson.

Eric Horvath, spokesman for Sixth District City Councilman Bobby Hennon, who represents residents in the 15th, said discussions around adding more police and the feasibility of a split aren’t over.

“It’s a victory, but it’s not necessarily something where we say ‘we’ve gotten over the hump’ and that’s the end of it,” said Horvath.

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