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Philadelphia Top Cop Calls For Expanded Police Presence In City Schools

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(Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey.  File photo)

(Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey. File photo)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey says the time has come for a stepped-up police role in city schools, and he says a plan is being drawn up to expand the presence of officers there.

At a City Council budget hearing today, Commissioner Ramsey (in file photo above) told councilmembers that some officers are already assigned to schools but, in his view, broader attention by police may now be needed throughout the Philadelphia School District.

“Many of our schools run just fine and don’t need this kind of intervention,” he told the panel, “but there are some schools that are right now being run by gang members and others who would do harm to other children, assault staff, and so forth.  And that is simply unacceptable, period.”

Ramsey said his department is now drawing up a plan for a broader deployment of officers in schools, and he’ll seek input from school staff, parents, and school advocates.

“This isn’t something that can be done in isolation,” he said. “We have to work the schools, with the parents, with other stakeholders to make this a reality. But we’ve got to come up with something, in my opinion, beyond what we’re currently doing. Because what we’re currently doing is not working.”

He gave no timetable, nor did he specify the number of officers he has in mind.

“It’s not going to get better on its own,” the commissioner said. “We have to reëstablish control and create a safer environment. At some future point in time we can talk about withdrawing them, but right now I think in many of our schools it has reached a point where this move would be necessary.”

Reported by KYW Newsradio City Hall Bureau Chief Mike Dunn

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