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March 07, 2017

Conservative sheriff: Former Philly Police Commissioner Ramsey 'was a disaster'

Longtime Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a frequent commentator on FOX News and author of the recently published "Cop Under Fire," believes former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey "was a disaster" for law enforcement officers in the United States.

Appearing on Chris Stigall's 1210 WPHT radio show Tuesday morning, Clarke criticized the trend toward community policing and scrutiny of use-of-force policies ushered in by the Obama administration, which selected Ramsey to help lead the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The final report from that task force, released in May 2015 amid a national crisis over police shootings of minorities, issued dozens of recommendations about how to build greater trust in American communities, from engaging in nonenforcement contact with residents to visiting schools, developing best practices for the use of social media and enhancing departmental programs to ensure the safety and wellness of police officers.

An outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and critic of Black Lives Matter, Clarke ripped Ramsey for being a proponent of reforms he claims are turning police work into social work.

"Chuck Ramsey sold out. He’s been a politician his entire life, when he came from DC, the Metro police over there," Clarke said. "He’s in bed with the political class. He was one of the front-runners on this transformation of policing that Barack Obama was trying to shove down our throats. Chuck Ramsey was one of the ones that Obama propped up as being in support of this. This would’ve been a disaster.”

Ramsey is the longest-serving Philadelphia police commissioner in the history of the city's department. After eight years in the same role in Washington, D.C., he came out of retirement to head the Philadelphia Police Department for the entirety of former Mayor Michael Nutter's two terms. Homicides trended downward over the course of his tenure before Richard Ross took command of the force in January 2016.

Clarke, a registered Democrat who has retained his position since 2002, accused Ramsey and Obama of trying to transform police officers into something they're not.

"They were trying to emasculate the police officers all across America," Clarke said. "They were talking about stuff like engage in more dialogue, stuff like de-escalation when you’re being fired upon, spit upon, fought. They’re chasing suspects down streets and in between buildings in neighborhoods. Police have to approach these individuals."

After leaving his post in Philadelphia, Ramsey has accepted a pair of advisory positions in Chicago and Wilmington, Delaware. In January, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf appointed him chairman of the state's Commission on Crime and Delinquency. He also joined CNN as a regular contributor to discuss topics related to police and law enforcement.

Trump has repeatedly pledged to provide more resources and empower American law enforcement agencies. Clarke, whose guidance was sought by Trump the candidate, took heat for urging Americans to bring out their "pitchforks and torches" in the wake of Trump's prediction that the election would be rigged against him. He was reportedly considered to lead the Department of Homeland Security before Trump ultimately selected former Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly.

Promoting his new book, Clarke told Stigall there is a "war on cops" in the United States.

"Somebody had to fight back on behalf of this profession."