By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two days after the US Department of Justice issued a report on the use of force by Philadelphia police, Mayor Nutter has created a panel to make sure the report’s 91 recommendations get implemented.
This morning, Nutter signed an executive order creating a fifteen-member oversight commission, to ensure that those Justice Department’s recommendations become reality.
“It will be an independent committee which will monitor and assess the implementation of recommendations in a timely manner,” the mayor said at the signing ceremony. “It will be composed of community stakeholders, experts in the field, and public safety professionals, none of whom work with or for the Philadelphia Police Department.”
Nutter said the DOJ report — which had been requested by police commissioner Charles Ramsey — will prove invaluable.
“It told us some things that we knew. It told us some things that we need to pay attention to. We’re going to not only pay attention to it, but also make sure that things are implemented,” the mayor added.
Chairing the panel will be Joanne Epps, the dean of Temple University’s law school, who will report directly to Mayor Nutter. Epps already has a hand in the issue: she was appointed by a federal judge to oversee the city’s compliance with a settlement involving the police department’s use of ‘stop-and-frisk’ detentions.
The 173-page Justice Department report detailed serious deficiencies in police training on the use of deadly force, lack of consistency during investigations, and a need for better cooperation with the Police Advisory Commission, which handles cases of alleged police misconduct. It offered 91 recommendations on how to improve police community relations.
Nutter said the FOP — the union representing police officers in Philadelphia — will be invited to have a seat on the oversight panel, as will the Police Advisory Commission. And he acknowledged that the panel and the police department may face a tough time working together.
“It may not be lovey-dovey every day,” the mayor said. “There must be a greater commitment on both sides for a level of cooperation. Ultimately, we all work for the same people. We all work for the citizens of this city. The ultimate goal here is a safer city, that citizens can be safe, officers can be safe, that improvements can be made, to develop a relationship between citizens and police that allow each to be safe and go about their business.”
And with just nine months left in office, Nutter said he hopes the next mayor will allow the oversight panel to continue its work.