Police Shootings Down in Philly

UnknownPolice gunfire ending in death is sharply down in Philadelphia  as a result of department efforts to reduce the use of lethal force.

At the end of last year, Philly.com reported a significant drop in police officer killings; from 16 in 2012 down to 4 last year. They attribute this to some significant internal changes by Police Commissioner Chuck Ramsey:

  • Crisis intervention training for all officers to de-escalate confrontations.
  • Conduct training that is “reality-based” in which officers confront unpredictable situations in using video-based role-playing.
  • Adding the term “sanctity of life” to their use of force policy.

Interestingly, this is what I have been preaching about — the importance for police to revisit policies, training, instrumentality, and attitudes surrounding their use of deadly force. It is important for police to be committed to preserving lives — to acknowledge and be committed to the “sanctity” of human life.

Here’s more on the Philadelphia story:

“So far in 2014, police officers have shot and killed four people. By the same date last year, they had killed 12. And in 2012 by this date, officers had killed 16…

“In spring 2013, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey invited federal experts to examine the department’s practices as part of a “collaborative review.”

“The request came as a Philly.com news report documented a spike in police-involved shootings despite a citywide drop in crime. In 2012, 59 people were shot, 16 of them killed, the highest one-year tally in a decade.

“Philadelphia has paid more than $2.5 million in the last decade to settle dozens of lawsuits that resulted from shootings by police, records show…

“Already, 2,500 Philadelphia officers – more than a third of the force – have gone through crisis-intervention training designed to help them de-escalate confrontations before they erupt into violence, Ramsey has said.

“The department has also increased ‘reality-based’ training, in which officers confront unpredictable situations in video role-playing situations.

“Earlier this year, it upgraded its directive governing lethal force to add a ‘sanctity of life’ phrase attesting that the “application of deadly force is a measure to be employed only in the most extreme circumstances…”

Read the entire article HERE by Craig R. McCoy and Dylan Purcell which was posted on  December 17, 2014.



  1. I don’t know how well they have been lately but when I was there during the Republican National Convention in 2000 they acted in an authoritarian manner that seemed to indicate that they considered citizens as potential enemies. It wasn’t like your recommendations for handling protests at all even when there were no protests. On at least two occasions police gave orders that were designed to intimidate for surprisingly trivial things that New England police would never have done, that I know of anyway.

    On one occasions in the subway where there were no protests but plenty of police a cop noticed me without a shirt and yelled, “Hey, put on a shirt.” with the clear implication that he was ready to make a major issue of it and that he expected me to comply. The other police took notice and didn’t seem to object or see a problem, implying that they would have backed him up if there was a problem.

    On another occasion, also where there were no protests and I wasn’t part of a crowd. I passed a few mounties and said hi and pet the horse in a friendly manner. The female cop snapped and said “don’t touch him” or something like that and she seemed very angry and implied that this might be result of their training.

    Both these incidents were clearly antagonistic and I have heard many other news reports that cities chosen for political conventions are often not encouraging much dissent and that they may be using police to suppress democracy rather than police it.

    Also, as much as I agree we need reform in the police and your articles are far better than most from police or former police, the most important things that need to be done may not involve the police, but media and political establishment.

    By addressing child abuse which escalates to more violence, income inequality lack of education and economic opportunity for workers and consumers crime, including violent crime could be drastically reduced.

    Unfortunately, when there are protests about these things as well as human rights abuses against workers or wars based on lies instead of addressing legitimate concerns politicians rely on police to suppress the protests, without charging people involved in human rights abuses or massive environmental destruction.


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