Philly's top cop on what Obama means

Inquirer staff writer Andrew Maykuth reports:

As police chief in Washington for nine years, Charles H. Ramsey oversaw security for the last two presidential inaugurations. Today, as Philadelphia’s police commissioner, he assumed a sideline role during the most momentous swearing-in ceremony of his lifetime.

Ramsey returned to Washington today, not part of the 500-member Philadelphia police contingent that helped the capital police with crowd control, but as a commentator on security measures for Washington NBC television affiliate.

It did not diminish the moment, he said recently.

Ramsey, an African American who grew up in Chicago but departed for Washington before Obama’s rise to prominence in Illinois, recently told a group of high-school students how Obama’s election inspired him and removed any barriers they had to achieve.

“It’s really at your fingertips,” Ramsey told the largely African American sophomore class from West Catholic High School. “You know there were times when I had talks like this, and I’d tell young people that anything was possible in the United States -- you can become anything you want to. But deep down inside of me, I didn’t believe it. I thought there was a ceiling.

“But I see what happened with Barack Obama being elected president of the United States. Folks, it don’t get any better than that. To anyone who thought there was a limit to what you can achieve, look again, because the limits are being placed on you by yourself. You are the person who creates and builds that ceiling. You want to break through? Get the hammer and tools you need to break through.”

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