By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson sparked protests across the country, including in Philadelphia, over police use of deadly force. Today, the city’s top cop weighed in on the country’s progress one year after Ferguson.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the controversy forced a shift in policing nationwide:
“It’s caused police departments to take a second look at use of force policies, training and the like and there has been a lot of progress.”
As one of leaders of the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Ramsey visits police departments across the country. He says many of the departments are having conversations, reviewing their practices and many are making changes.
In Philadelphia, the Department of Justice issued roughly 90 recommended changes in March after reviewing Philadelphia police for months. The inquiry was in response to a request by Ramsey.
“We’re making pretty good progress,” he says.
Some of the changes include more transparency when it comes to police-involved shootings, a better relationship with the Police Advisory Commission and more staff dedicated to implemented DOJ recommendations.
But for many, the change is not coming fast enough. According to the Washington Post, more than 580 people have been killed by police this year alone in the U.S. According to the Philadelphia Police Department website, since Ferguson, four offenders have died at the hands of police.
Ramsey notes increased pressure on police, but he says there must be balance and an understanding of the intense danger officers face:
“You have a decent law-abiding community, but you also have a community of criminals out there too.”
Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III was gunned down during a robbery at a North Philadelphia GameStop this year. In addition, Ramsey points out that shots fired at police in Ferguson during a peaceful protest commemorating the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death underscore the need to push for a reality check:
“It’s not like police officers are just deciding today to shoot some unarmed person. There are dangerous situations that may at times require the use of deadly force, but many times they are resolved without the use of deadly force.”