By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Recent high profile police pat downs — including one where a 16-year-old boy claims he suffered major injuries to his genitals — has many watchdog groups asking questions about the city’s stop and frisk policy.
KYW Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg reports the cops say they’ve rolled out a better system to monitor the stops.
“There’s integrity built into the system, so there can be trust by the community,” says Captain Francis Healy, special advisor to the police commissioner.
Healy says the new electronic system rolled out earlier this month and includes easier to use programming that allows officers to accurately track data on stop and frisks, both in their car and in their districts.
“We have a lot more drop down screens and check boxes to make things more fluid for the officers to use on the front end,” Healy said. “And on the back end, we have a lot more report functions build in and it’s connected to our audit functions.”
Healy says stops will be reviewed by supervisors for immediate feedback, then quarterly by Inspectors and finally by the Standards and Accountability Bureau.
“It’s designed to make sure that we’re doing the right things,” said Healy, noting that officers who are making inappropriate stops will be re-trained on correct procedures.
The reviews are the result of a 2011 settlement agreement between the City of Philadelphia and the ACLU following a class action lawsuit over abusive stop and frisk tactics.
ACLU lawyer Mary Catherine Roper says they monitor data on stops and provide quarterly reports to the court. She says the ACLU has not seen much improvement, but there is hope the new system will move the ball in the right direction.
“We need to see if that is going to work, but if we don’t see any improvement pretty soon after the implementation of this new program, I think that’s when we’ll have to ask the court to step in,” Roper said.
Roper says if change does not occur, they will ask the court to employ sanctions and perhaps put more pressure on the city to make change. According to ACLU data, 40-45 percent of the city’s 215,000 stops in 2013 were made without legal justification.