Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Report on Philadelphia Police: New Rules, Training Needed
"A long-awaited U.S. Justice Department report on police shootings in Philadelphia concluded Monday that there is "significant strife between the community and the department," and recommended wholesale changes in procedures and training.

The federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) issued 48 findings and 91 recommendations for the Philadelphia department to consider in 'reforming its deadly force practices.'

...Much of the report echoed criticisms raised for years in community meetings, past audits of the department, and lawsuits against the city....

Paul Messing, a Temple University Law School professor and civil-rights lawyer, said the report 'confirmed what we've known for years' - that the department's disciplinary process has 'a complete lack of teeth.'

The Justice Department's report also criticized police policies on use of force, calling them confusing and inconsistent. The main directive on using deadly force was deemed 'too vague,' the report said.

It noted that under current rules, an officer who had violated its deadly force policy three times could get off with only a reprimand. And it found that the department's investigations of officer-involved shootings had 'a general lack of consistency in quality.'

The report called for a specialized unit to investigate such cases. It also recommended that officers involved in shootings be interviewed by investigators soon after the incident. Now, those officers are interviewed only after the district attorney's investigation into the matter is concluded, which can take months...."

View the Report


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