In 2013, former Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Charles Ramsey asked the federal government to review the department’s policies and practices after fatal shootings by officers were found to be on the rise.
Four years later, the review continues, but a report the U.S. Department of Justice released Friday noted that the department had completed 91 percent of the recommendations issued by the federal Community Oriented Policing Services.
The report praised the department for creating an Officer Involved Shooting Incident unit inside the department, an internal unit for criminal investigations of all deadly force incidents.
Staffed with a captain, three sergeants and eight detectives, the unit has met goals of interviewing all officers involved within three days of the incident and closing all cases within 30 days, according to the federal report.
But the report also noted the police department’s union has opposed the recommendation to video-record all interviews with officers who used deadly force.
COPS office director Ronald Davis called the department’s progress “outstanding” in a statement and credited Police Commissioner Richard Ross with “strong and steadfast leadership.”
There was praise for the department’s work on exploring the use of body cameras, but progress stalled in other areas.
Regarding police-involved shootings, the the Department of Justice said Philadelphia Police should post detailed information about the incidents online and publish an annual report about “trends” in such shootings citywide. The department says that report is under development.
In a further sign of coordination with COPS’ recommendationfor police activity to be scrutinized by a civilian review board, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order Friday re-establishing the Police Advisory Commission.
Kenney said the 13-member civilian review board will help increase “accountability” in the department.