Ramsey to chair president's Task Force on 21st Century Policing

pcop22z-650156
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey talks to the media outside the CJC in center city March 31, 2009. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff photographer)

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was one of two people appointed by President Barack Obama today to chair his Task Force on 21st Century Policing, according to a news release from the White House.

The task force will include community leaders and law enforcement representatives. It will examine how to build public trust and how to effectively promote crime reduction, the release said.

Ramsey, who is president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, will chair the task force with Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general and a professor at George Mason University.

The announcement seems to have come as a surprise to those in the Philadelphia Police Department. A spokeswoman said they had no information to release about Ramsey's appointment yet.

Along with the task force, Obama also proposed an initiative today that will increase the use of body-worn cameras by police officers. Under that initiative, the federal government will match state and local municipalities costs for body cameras by up to 50 percent.

Philadelphia police just announced today that they began testing on-body cameras on 31 police officers from the 22nd District in North Philadelphia.

A police spokeswoman denied that the department's test of body cameras has anything to do with the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and said Ramsey has been researching on-body cameras since early this year. 

In the White House release, however, Ferguson is mentioned in the first five words.

"As the nation has observed, trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services," the White House release said.

Continue Reading