Two N. Philly police districts to merge

Meant to post this up earlier this morning. In today's Daily News, I detailed Police Commissioner Chuck Ramsey's plan to merge the 22nd and 23rd Districts in North Philadelphia by Jan. 3, 2010. Here's the skinny:

For much of Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey's two-year tenure, there have been rumblings about his desire to cut the number of police districts, or at least redraw their boundaries.

Turns out those rumors had more than a shred of truth to them. Come Jan. 3, the 22nd and 23rd districts in North Philadelphia will merge, Ramsey told the Daily News in a recent interview.

The districts, which share the same headquarters at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue, are among a handful that police brass have considered combining.

Lest longtime residents take to the streets in panic, Ramsey noted that the merger will not lead to a reduction in the number of cops who patrol the neighborhoods in the districts, which include Strawberry Mansion, North Philly and Brewerytown.

"As far as the community goes, the police station's still there, and the officers from both districts will still be there," he said.

"They're both relatively small districts. We're merging them primarily because we don't have enough resources to staff 23 police districts."

The merger is not occurring because of, and will not lead to, any financial savings, according to Ramsey.

According to police statistics, the 22nd District, has about 200 police officers; the 23rd has about 150.

A handful of lieutenants, sergeants and administrative staff will be transferred to other districts, as will 23rd District Capt. Joe Bartorilla. Branville Bard, captain of the 22nd, will be in charge of the combined district, Ramsey said.

The "new" district, which will be known as the 22nd, will have boundaries that stretch from Poplar Street to Lehigh Avenue, and from 10th Street to 33rd.

For more information on the merger, click here to read the rest.