Philly controller audit finds widespread problems in the police department

An audit of the Philadelphia Police Department by the city controller details staffing shortages, slow 911 response times, outdated practices and benefit abuse.

Listen 49:29
Philadelphia police academy cadets line up for graduation

(Samantha Madera/City of Philadelphia)

The Philadelphia City Controller released an audit of the city police department’s $800 million budget and found a host of problems from staffing to 911 response times. In the 85-page report, controller REBECCA RHYNHART details understaffing, high attrition and low recruitment issues, and the high percentage of its budget spent on employee compensation compared to other cities.

The review also highlights abuses of the Heart and Lung benefit program, poor deployment of resources, too many redundancies and outdated practices and technology and found significant disparities in 911 response times with Black and brown communities waiting twice as long as white neighborhoods. Rhynhart also points out that the police department’s major crime fighting strategy, Operation Pinpoint, has never been probably evaluated. Rhynhart joins us to talk about the audit’s findings and its recommendations.

We’ll also hear from RICK COLLINS, who served on the controller’s Community Council and from State Representative CHRIS RABB, who with Representative Brian Sims, has introduced legislation to make the Heart and Lung benefit program more transparent.

We recommend

WHYY’s Billy Penn, Understaffing and slower 911 response times for communities of color are major problems for Philly police, says new city report – “Police response times to 911 calls in Philadelphia vary widely depending on the demographic of the district being served, according to a new review of police spending from the City Controller’s Office, which found areas with more white residents get a much faster emergency response”

Philadelphia Inquirer, MIA: CRISIS IN THE RANKS – “An Inquirer investigation has found numerous cops who have claimed to be too injured to work, but at the same time launched new businesses, toiled at physically strenuous jobs, and more.”

Subscribe for more Radio Times

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal