New protocol for police-involved shootings
A new set of rules for the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) will change the way officer-involved shootings are investigated in the city, the Inquirer reported Sunday.
Under the new regulations, the Police Advisory Commission (PAC) will have a say in determining if officer-involved shootings are justified. It signals a major victory for the PAC, which for the last two decades has fought for better oversight of police misconduct.
"It's a dramatic change," commission director Kelvyn Anderson told the Inquirer. "We've been complaining all these years. Now we have access."
In the past, the department's four deputy commissioners routinely headed up investigations of such shootings with no external input.
The new protocol went into effect last month, but only became public knowledge late last week.
Other changes include the following:
- The PPD must notify the Police Advisory Commission immediately after every officer-involved shooting.
- The PPD must name officers who shoots a civilians within three days of the incident.
- The PPD must allow officers to review videos taken by their body cameras before they tell internal investigators why they fired their weapons.
- There's a new limit to the number of times an officer can fire a taser at a suspect.
The city's Fraternal Order of Police lodge has previously fought the change that would mandate naming officers involved in shootings. The union's president John McNesby called said that the idea is "ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, there is no reason for it.”
In response, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey clarified in a memo the PPD wouldn't release any information that could put an officer's life in danger.