By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, in an exclusive one on one interview with CBS 3’s Walt Hunter, spoke for the first time, about a new addition to the Police Department’s website that gives unprecedented information about officer–involved shootings in Philadelphia.
Providing rare access to his office at Police Headquarters, the Commissioner showed how the website will provide information on police shootings previously restricted to the department’s files.
“It is an ‘inside look’ and I think it is long overdue,” Ramsey told Hunter.
The website now lists police shootings, provides summaries of Internal Affairs findings, and the status of investigations by both police and, in some cases, the District Attorney’s Office.
“Whatever the situations may be, we’re not ashamed or afraid to put out that information,” Ramsey explained.
On the website, blue dots, showing officer shootings, cluster in areas where red dots, civilian shootings, are highest, reflecting the violence officers encounter. Yet, Ramsey says, fewer officers this year have opened fire.
“So far this year,” the Commissioner stated, “we’re down 30 percent from officer-involved shootings last year.”
The Commissioner told Hunter he understands any police-involved shooting is traumatic, affecting both the officers and the community. But, he says, he hopes, by making an unprecedented amount of information on the shootings, as well as police training and guidelines, available to the the public, he will help improve relations among residents and officers.
“Hopefully,” he concluded, “this is a step to knock barriers down, to eliminate confusion and misunderstanding.”
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