PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey defended the practice of stop and frisk and disagreed with Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to designate Philadelphia a sanctuary city.
Ramsey, during an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, said using stop and frisk is perfectly legal and a necessary part of being a police officer.
“Police do have the right, with reasonable suspicion, believing that crime has occurred or is about to occur, to stop and question an individual if you believe that person is armed, could have a weapon that could harm you, you can conduct a pat down, a frisk…I think, politically, we got a little carried away with just calling it stop and frisk, as if it’s just some new program where we randomly stop folks and there have been some abuses in policing. There’s no question about that, but that’s not how we train here in Philadelphia. We train our officers to make constitutional stops.”
He insisted that police using stop and frisk techniques are keeping neighborhoods safer.
“You cannot do your job if you don’t have that tool available to you. The streets are very dangerous out here. I don’t think anybody listening doesn’t realize that we have a lot of shootings, have a lot of homicides and so forth. To think that we would not the ability to stop people who were engaged in criminal activity and then, for officers safety, to be able to make sure they aren’t armed and can cause them harm, I don’t think that’s a logical train of thought.”
Ramsey also stated he believes the city should be more compliant in helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement track down criminals who are in the country illegally.
“If you have a person that commits a serious crime, if that person, in the course of a background check, it turns out that they are not here legally, then we ought to notify the proper authorities. Period. That’s it and they do whatever they do. Now, for minor crimes and so forth, no, I don’t think so. But you don’t do that thorough a background check if it’s somebody that ran a red light or committed some other minor type or crime, we don’t run those kinds of background checks to find out whether or not what their status is, per se. I don’t think we should be an arm of ICE, just going out looking for people that may be here illegally, but if a person commits a serious crime and they are in our custody, then, in my opinion, we should notify the proper authorities.”