Street formally honors city's police

Paying tribute to the city's police and making one of his last public statements while in office, Mayor Street honored local officers yesterday with Police Appreciation Day.

Street said the City Hall ceremony - the first official Police Appreciation Day for the 6,700-member force during his administration - was "driven by the fact that in this city, as well as other cities, law enforcement officials are coming under unprecedented attack."

Accompanied by city Managing Director Loree Jones, Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson, and John McNesby, president of Lodge Five of the Fraternal Order of Police, Street addressed an audience of nearly 100 uniformed officers and 50 city employees, well-wishers and reporters in the Mayor's Reception Room.

"We have to make a public statement that, in this city, we appreciate the men and women in blue," said Street, who noted that six police officers had died in the line of duty since he took office nearly eight years ago.

Among them was Officer Chuck Cassidy, who was shot Oct. 31 and died the next day.

Johnson, who received a standing ovation when introduced, presented awards to various special-unit officers.

He is retiring next week after a 40-year career as a Philadelphia police officer.

"We're not a department that's broke," Johnson said. "We don't have a corruption problem. We don't have a brutality problem.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it . . . and we're not broke," said Johnson, who said he was wearing his dress blues for the final time.

The mayor's office asked city workers to wear blue yesterday to show their support for Philadelphia's police.

Street said that serious crime is down nearly 14 percent in the city despite the high homicide rate, but that "because of a serious homicide problem, people can't see the good that is happening."

As of yesterday, the city had recorded 390 homicides this year.

"There is a story of great policing happening in this city, [but] you can't get any recognition for your work because homicides are way too high," Street said.


Go to http://go.philly.com/police for a video of the event.


Contact Gene D'Alessandro

at 215-854-2443 or inqonline@phillynews.com.