Ramsey’s new targets: Waterfront, school crime

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey went to City Council chambers to talk money yesterday, but the conversation veered into placing armed officers in schools, the reality of crime near the riverfront casino and the department’s effort to upgrade its online presence.

The department’s requested budget is $20.7 million higher than last fiscal year’s, with much of the increase attributed to the 3 percent raise in last contract award between the City and FOP Lodge 5.

Veering away from financial talk, 4th District Councilman Curtis Jones asked Ramsey about the idea of putting armed police officers into troubled city schools, an idea broached last week.

“What’s important is carefully selecting those assigned to this duty, no one with the attitude of just going in and locking up kids,” Ramsey said. “The reality is that some schools, but not all of them, are being run by gang members and others who’d do harm to students and staff. That’s unacceptable. We’re not providing the safe environment needed for our children to learn.”

As for the new patrols around SugarHouse Casino, Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross said there has not been a “significant spike” in crime as initially feared.

Twelve officers are assigned to that detail.

“Everybody was anticipating a lot more,” he said, adding that he’s had conversations with community members who are “pleasantly surprised.”

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