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May 18, 2015

Philly Police launch 'Commish Chat' podcast with Ramsey

A 'look at the issues, challenges and successes of policing'

The Philadelphia Police Department has launched a podcast that discusses community policing and local relationships with law enforcement officials, as well as other relevant topics, with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The podcast, entitled "PPD Commish Chat," is hosted by Denise James, Director of Strategic Communications for the PPD. The second and most recent episode, originally posted last week, focused on Ramsey's thoughts concerning the events in Baltimore regarding the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody and what Philly police could learn from the incident. 

In the episode, Ramsey says the protests that followed Gray's death ranged from peaceful to opportunistic. 

"You're always going to have a mixture of people when you have something like that occur," Ramsey said. "You're going to have people that are legitimately concerned, that want to voice their opinion, but do so in a peaceful, nonviolent manner. Then you've got others that see it as an opportunity to create issues and problems and destruction, unfortunately."

Ramsey said while he hopes the events in Baltimore don't occur in Philadelphia, he believes it is impossible for any commissioner to say whether it would or would not, happen in their area with complete certainty. He also notes that the challenge of adequately distributing information to the public, calling a lack of information part of the problem in said situations.

The commissioner also discussed the report from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which he co-chaired. The report, the findings of which were released Monday as a part of President Obama's visit to Camden.

After Obama's visit, Ramsey reinforced what he said in the podcast, stating that the report included specific recommendations that will aid in fostering a better relationship with the community if carried out. Many of those recommendations focused on keeping officers accountable, making calls for better training for officers.

According to NBC Philadelphia, the department hopes to release one podcast a month and listeners have already started submitting questions by email for Ramsey. James said they would be open to a live-chat episode eventually.